An exhibition on the history of the "capital of the GDR" from the late 1960s until the reunification of the city in 1990.
The exhibition focuses on everyday life in East Berlin. It shows the city as a place balancing between its role as a centre of power for the SED regime and as a site of social and cultural diversity. This socio-historical portrait of East Berlin sheds light on the experiences of the people whose lives were intertwined with the city's development into a socialist metropolis.
It is by no means a wistful/nostalgic look at the past. However, it also avoids a distanced "Western" view, which tends to look at the Eastern part of the city as a lost and foreign world. The focus is placed on the contradictions of everyday life in GDR society. Items and stories document how people dealt with these contradictions.
Modern urbanity, housing, availability of urban open spaces, lifestyles, work and consumption, transport, multiculturalism – the exhibition questions how the problems of contemporary cities were present in the former capital of the GDR as well as how they were resolved and what consequences and conflicts ensued. The exhibition is presented as a journey of discovery into a vanished city whose traces are still visible in many ways in Berlin today. It seeks to inspire visitors to put these traces in a historical perspective and to look for them in the urban landscape.
In cooperation with museums throughout Berlin, the exhibition extends beyond the Ephraim-Palais Museum out into the city. Under the motto "My East Berlin", people from the East and the West can present their own belongings and describe their experiences with the city. Berliner students and school classes will be accompanying the journey of discovery with their own projects.