The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 in Moscow.

Source: Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow

From 22 June to 21 November 2011, the international traveling exhibition was on view at the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.

Source: Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation

Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945

Park Pobedy 3
121170 Moscow


Successful conclusion of the international exhibition on forced labour under National Socialism in Moscow

Organizers praise the first foreign showing of the international traveling exhibition and the successful German-Russian collaboration

The international traveling exhibition “Forced Labor. The Germans, the Forced Laborers and the War” at the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 in Moscow closed on November 21, 2011. The exhibition opened at the museum on June 22, 2011 on the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, accompanied by addresses by Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and Christian Wulff, President of the Federal Republic of Germany at that time. The exhibition, which was developed by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation and initiated and sponsored by the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ), also played a symbolically significant role within the context of German-Russian understanding.

Due to immense popular interest, the exhibition was extended beyond its original scheduled closing date of late October. More than 20,000 visitors attended the exhibition, including numerous school groups, educators, staff of other museums, and former forced laborers. For the former forced laborers, the exhibition was a belated recognition and acknowledgement of their experiences — experiences of which few former forced laborers had been willing to speak about publicly due to fears of reprisals after the war. As Mark Tilevitch, an 88-year-old survivor of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, noted: “The chapter of history that addresses the experiences and the suffering of Soviet citizens in the concentration camps, and the ways in which they remained loyal to their Soviet homeland, remains largely unexplored here at home.”

In collaboration with Central Museum staff, the traveling exhibition was supplemented with exhibits and interviews relating to former Soviet forced laborers. As Dr. Jens-Christian Wagner, curator of the exhibition and director of the Mittlebau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial, noted: “Forced labor under National Socialism was a German crime with a European dimension. ... For this reason, confronting this history requires a transnational perspective. The exhibition in Moscow demonstrates the results that can be achieved by such joint efforts.”

The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive programme of events. Prior to the opening, the exhibition developers met in a round-table discussion with Russian victims’ and veterans’ associations. In addition, a series of seminars was organised on the topic of forced labor for history teachers and other interested parties in collaboration with the “Memorial” NGO. On November 14–15, the conference “Forced Labour for the German Reich 1941–1945: History and Remembrance from the German and Russian Perspective” was conducted in collaboration with the German Historical Institute in Moscow. In addition, the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War organized tours for school groups, as well as a variety of events in which former forced laborers, teachers and youth groups took part.

The Federal State Culture Institution “The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945”
(responsible for the exhibition’s prolog)

Director of the museum
Vladimir Ivanovič Zabarovskij

First Deputy Director
Aleksandr Jur’evič Tatulov

Deputy Director for exhibition work
Viktor Nikolaevič Skrjabin

Scientist secretary
Serafima Ivanovna Gorbunova

Administrator of the department of military history exposition and research of wars and military conflicts 1930–1940
Nikolaj Aleksandrovič Jakuba

Deputy Director for culture-educational work
Mixail Mixajlovič Mixal’čev

Head of the Press Department
Aleksandr Nikolaevič Klepikov

Organization and installation
Republican Museum Center GIM
Director General: Ol’ga Al’bertovna Sokolova
Head project manager: Vitalij Ivanovič Sokolov

Administrative service
Deputy Director of Administration: Vladimir Anatol’evič Anisimov

Technical Support
Deputy Director of Technical Support: Andrej Vasil’evič Fetisov

Graphic Production / Invitations
Publishing-printing centre August Borg: Anastasija Orlova

Museum’s Information Support
Vadim Genadievič Osejko

Supported by
Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russian in FRG: Vladimir Mixajlovič Grinin
State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF)