The DGPPN travelling exhibition was prepared in cooperation with the foundations Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Topography of Terror and has already been visited by more than 280,000 people. After its opening in the German Bundestag under the patronage of the Federal President, Joachim Gauck, in 2014, the exhibition travelled to many national and international locations.
The exhibition has been presented at various facilities, including parliaments, memorial sites, congresses and hospitals. It often establishes a specific connection with the respective region through an accompanying programme.
Between 1933 and 1945, up to 400,000 people were forcibly sterilised and more than 200,000 were murdered. The guiding principle for the selection of patients was the person’s supposed “value”. Doctors, nursing staff and functionaries passed judgement on the people committed to their care on the basis of their “curability”, “learning ability” or “capacity to work”. At the same time, the exclusion, persecution and extermination of peculiar, disturbing and ill people took place within the institutional and hospital systems.
The exhibition is specifically aimed at a wide audience. It uses the question of the value of life as a guiding principle and considers the intellectual and institutional preconditions of the killings, summarises the events from exclusion and forced sterilisations up to the Holocaust, considers examples of victims, perpetrators, accomplices and opponents and finally looks into how those events have been dealt with from 1945 until the present day. Exemplary biographies run throughout the entire exhibition: the many different actors involved in the crimes become tangible in the victims’ files. Their views of patients are contrasted with the patients’ own statements.
The final section of the exhibition comprises numerous voices – doctors, politicians, representatives of self-help associations, relatives of victims, nursing staff, health administration representatives and others – who look back on the events of the time and ask themselves from different perspectives about the personal significance of those events.