The Museum Biberach is showing a special exhibition on the topic of refugees and displaced people after the Second World War. It is hard to imagine, but in 1960 refugees made up almost a third of Biberach’s population.
The fact that destroyed and separated Germany took in 14 million refugees and displaced people after the Second World War is all but a fading memory. Between 1945 and 1960, the population of the small town of Biberach alone grew from 21,000 to include almost 6000 further inhabitants. Most of the new citizens came from Silesia, East Prussia, Pomerania, German Bohemia, and the Danube-Swabian areas.
Today, after over 70 years, they seem to be successfully integrated. However, the historical reality in the 1950s was anything but harmonious. For decades, refugees and displaced people were underprivileged and treated with contempt as citizens on the outskirts of Biberach. It is telling that not only a refugee settlement, which was established at the detention center in Gaisental in 1950, but also the subsequent district Weißes Bild were located on the former fringe of the town.
How did those affected at the time experience their new frosty home? Under which conditions did they come to Biberach? How would they describe their integration? Was it all about adapting, or were they able to preserve their cultural idiosyncrasies? How did the refugees and displaced people contribute to Biberach’s economic and cultural development after 1945?
The exhibition »Arriving« at the Museum Biberach explores these questions and gives contemporary witnesses the opportunity to tell their stories. Audio stations and original statements by refugees and displaced people as well as contemporary film clips enhance the intensity of this presentation. The connection to the present is also part of the debate.