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On 9 October 2020, the German Bundestag decided to begin planning a new centre in Berlin, which will document the history of German occupation in Europe during the Second World War, communicate knowledge of historical events, and provide room for remembering the victims. 75 years after the war, parliament has taken up numerous initiatives from civil society, academia and politics to honour the experiences that can still be felt today in the European countries occupied by Germany during the war. With this resolution the Federal Government was mandated to prepare a proposal for the realisation of a new documentation centre.

On 4 January 2021, Professor Monika Grütters, Minister of State for Culture and Media, entrusted the Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM) with the preparation of the proposal. The project group, working directly with the President of the DHM, Professor Raphael Gross, is responsible for the project.

In addition, two expert working groups have been formed. They regularly contributed to the preparation of the proposal. The working group Scholarship brought together outstanding historians from different countries who contribute their extensive expertise in the areas of National Socialism, the Second World War, Holocaust and the German occupation to the project. In the working group Remembrance and Commemoration, noted directors of existing memorial sites in Germany brought their experience to the process.

Proposal for the realisation of the Documentation Centre

The project group made extensive suggestions for establishing the new documentation centre “German Occupation of Europe in the Second World War” (ZWBE). In an interim report the German Bundestag was informed about the status of the work on the realisation proposal. The DHM submitted its proposals for the realisation of the documentation centre to the Minister of State for Culture and Media Claudia Roth on 22 December 2021.

They made structural recommendations in particular concerning:

  • legal form, sponsorship and committees,
  • requirements of the new centre for space and personnel.

Equally important are the basic concepts for:

  • a permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions,
  • educational work of the new centre,
  • international and societal dialogue,
  • a dignified commemoration of the victims, and opportunities for a dialogue with survivors and their descendants.

On 4 May 2022, the federal government accepted the proposal and submitted it to the German Bundestag for further consideration. On 23 June 2022, the Bundestag debated the proposal for the first time. Subsequently, the proposal was discussed in the relevant parliamentary committees, including a public hearing on 28 November 2022. With the decision of the Bundestag on 19 October 2023 to entrust the realisation of the documentation centre to the Deutsches Historisches Museum, work on the implementation can begin and is expected to take several years.

Projects of the DHM in connection with the work of the office

In connection with the work on the realisation proposal, the DHM invited the public to engage with the history of German rule in occupied Europe during the Second World War. In the DHM event series “Historical Judgement”, the symposium in spring 2022 took up this topic. In its cover story, the fourth edition of the magazine “Historical Judgement” documented the different contributions to the symposium.



Prof. Dr. Raphael Gross

Tel +49 30 20304-100

Research Associate

Dagi Knellessen

Tel +49 30 20304-106