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In its session yesterday, the German Bundestag sent an important signal and resolved in broad consensus to entrust the Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM) with the realisation of the documentation centre “German Occupation of Europe in the Second World War” (ZWBE).

Since the beginning of 2021, the Deutsches Historisches Museum has worked on behalf of the German government and the Bundestag to prepare a realisation proposal for the construction of the centre and has thus created the basis for the process of further planning and implementation. The resolution of the Bundestag provides for the establishment, under the umbrella of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, of a dependent foundation under public law as the body responsible for the future documentation centre in central Berlin.

Professor Dr Raphael Gross, President of the Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum: “‘Never again’ – can only be sensibly said if one actually knows what should never happen again. Historical knowledge of the events is the decisive basis for empathy and for orientation in the present day. It is a signal to the people in the formerly occupied countries that Germany is ready and willing to undertake a precise examination of what occurred. The future documentation centre is an offer to German society in a greatly expanded Europe to take a new and deeper look at its neighbours. The centre will depict many forms of historical force and violence and thus make it possible to reflect on them in a new way.”

On 9 October 2020, the German Bundestag had resolved to begin with the planning of a new centre in Berlin that is to document the history of the German occupation of European states during the Second World War, to convey knowledge of the historical events, and to provide room for the commemoration of the victims. For this purpose, 75 years after the end of the war the German parliament took up diverse initiatives from civil society, science and politics to pay tribute to the lasting effects and experiences of the people in the countries throughout Europe that were occupied by Germany. With this resolution the federal government was charged to prepare for the Bundestag a realisation proposal for the construction of a new documentation centre. The former State Minister for Culture and the Media, Prof. Monika Grütters, had thereupon commissioned the DHM to prepare the realisation proposal.