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 about 500,000 people. After its opening in the German Bundestag under the patronage of the Federal President, Joachim Gauck (a.D.), in 2014, the exhibition travelled to many national and international 76 locations and was seen in 8 different countries on 5 continents. In January 2020 the touring of the exhibition, which is now no longer shown, ended.
The exhibition has been presented at various facilities, including parliaments, memorial sites, congresses and hospitals. It often established 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 was specifically aimed at a wide audience. It used the question of the value of life as a guiding principle and considers the intellectual and institutional preconditions of the killings, summarized the events from exclusion and forced sterilizations up to the Holocaust, considered examples of victims, perpetrators, accomplices and opponents and finally looked 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 comprised 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.