»From Laotse to Willy Brandt. History of the Peace Movement«
War, it seems, always existed. The history of Europe in particular consists of uncounted military conflicts between cultures, religions and nations. Europe was the starting point of colonial suppression and two world wars. For centuries war and violence have been glorified by politicians and historians.
But the culture of peace also has a long tradition in Europe. Be it in the sense of the Latin notion of pax that points to the juridical and political regulation of social life. Be it in the sense of the German word Frieden that - going back to the medieval fridu - has got the same roots as friendship and freedom. At all times there have been voices who didn't accept war as an inescapable fate, people who fought for peace, freedom and justice in the name of Christianity, Humanism and Enlightenment, - often risking privation and personal harm, most of the time laughed at and mocked, and today unjustly forgotten.
The exhibition highlights the history of the peace movement in Europe. In the centre of interest it puts the portraits of men and women who - in different times and in various ways - engaged for peace like Erasmus of Rotterdam and Albert Einstein, Bertha von Suttner and Käthe Kollwitz.
In addition it presents institutions and organisations that were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and partly still exist today like the International War Tribunal and the "War Resisters International".
The exhibition doesn't claim to fully cover its subject and - little by little - is going to be supplemented towards a world history of the peace movement. It wants to show visitors, that it is not a mere utopia to hope for a peaceful world and that it is worth while to follow in the footsteps of those who devoted their life to peace.
Taking into account all the given possibilities we should find new ways to prevent conflicts that often result from an unjust distribution of the natural resources on earth.
We should learn to be tolerant of other cultures and religions in order to approve of the diversity of people and to regard everybody as equal.
Now at the Anti-War Museum:
Nothing New at the Western Front? Stereophotography from World War I
The Anti-War museum now presents stereophotographies from World War I. Two special apparatuses make the historical pictures look three-dimensional. They offer insight into theaters of war at the Western front that - like Verdun - became symbols for the destructive powers of modern warfare. Taken from the French perspective the pictures show deserted landscapes, cities in ruins, destroyed houses, churches, corpses and graves, but also soldiers, reading, playing cards or proudly presenting their trophies be it rats or the weapons of the enemy. Thus the three-dimensional photographies testify a war as senseless as Remarque already described it in his novel "Nothing New at the Western Front". And at the same time these pictures are able to irritate our present-day's ways of looking and thinking.