Migration has history: we celebrate three decades of DOMiD
From the garage to the first central migration museum
What started as DOMiT in Essen in 1990 (read more about history here) has been continued in Cologne since 2000. An interdisciplinary team that brings in different expertise does not work day after day without heart and passion: we collect, preserve, research, exhibit and convey the history of migration in Germany. In the future, our collection will find a new home in the "House of the Immigration Society."
A little look back
Three decades of DOMiD also means countless exciting discussions with lenders. Thousands of people we met, with whom we developed projects, curated exhibitions and worked together for a culture of remembrance in the migration society. The result is a unique collection with stories behind it that drive and motivate us every day. We are eager to give these stories a worthy setting with the future museum.
What is your story with DOMiD?
We want to know from you in our anniversary year: how did you get to know DOMiD? Or was it still DOMiT? Is there an anecdote you would like to share with us? What moved you? We look forward to your writing down your story below. We publish some of the most beautiful stories on this page. Thank you for the first 30 years - for the next decades to come!
A short review
Exhibition history (selection)
For DOMiD, exhibitions are particularly important. Since the first exhibition in 1998, DOMiD has curated numerous exhibitions, of which we show you a selection here. In the future, this picture gallery will grow editorially: in the coming weeks and months we will present further milestones in our 30-year history.
"Foreign Home" – Original Title: "Fremde Heimat – Yaban, Sılan olur" | 15.02.1998 - 02.08.1998 | Foreign Home was the first major exhibition in Germany to focus on the topic of immigration. It also marked the first instance of cooperation between a prominent German museum and a migrant organization. DOMiD and the Ruhrland Museum Essen (now called the Ruhr Museum) worked together to develop and present the exhibition. The exhibition chronicled the recruitment of labor migrants from Turkey, from the German-Turkish Labor Recruitment Agreement (Anwerbeabkommen) of 1961 to the recruitment ban (Anwerbestopp) of 1973. In addition to the recruitment, "Foreign Home" recounted the settlement process of the so-called "first generation," through the beginning of the 1980s. It included both Turkish and German perspectives. The exhibition focused on the early phases of migration in particular and outlined the roots of the debate about migration in West Germany at that time. "Foreign Home" illustrated the world in which Turkish migrants worked and lived. Among the exhibition pieces were original furnishings from the laborer dormitories, documents, personal keepsakes and photographs from around 100 lenders, most of whom were private persons. Tours, offered in German, Turkish and sign language, provided more insight into the numerous exhibits. The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive program of events, which included cultural and athletic performances and various discussion rounds. "Foreign Home" enjoyed the interest of a lively public. A bilingual catalog and a bilingual overview were published to go along with the exhibition. Unfortunately, the catalog is currently out of stock (Picture: DOMiD-Archive-Köln).
40 years: Foreign Home. Immigration from Turkey to Cologne | 27.10.2001 - 23.11.2001 | Cologne | To mark the 40th anniversary of the German-Turkish labor recruitment agreement (deutsch-türkisches Anwerbeabkommen) in 2001, DOMiD developed an exhibition on the history of Turkish immigration to Cologne. It was presented in Cologne's historic City Hall in two languages, German and Turkish. This project evolved from an earlier exhibition, "Foreign Home. A Story of Immigration from Turkey," which DOMiD showed in the Ruhrlandmuseum in Essen in 1998. The exhibition relates stories of immigration from the perspectives of the so-called "guest workers," their neighbors, their friends and their colleagues. It covers a span of thirty years, from 1961 to 1991. The collection focuses on the early phases of migration in particular: the recruitment of laborers from Turkey, life in the dormitories, work in the factories, recreational activities, coexistence and contact with German neighbors, and the first generation's process of settlement and establishment in Germany. In total, 400 different exhibits were displayed. These included personal keepsakes, objects of everyday use, documents, photographs, letters and newspaper articles. Tours were offered in German and in Turkish and were given most often to school groups. The exhibition was met with great interest from visitors, engaging both those with a personal "migration background" and those without. (Foto: Dietrich Hackenberg/DOMiD-Archive, Cologne).
Project Migration 30.09.2005 - 15.01.2006 | Cologne | DOMiD developed the project in cooperation with the Cologne Art Association, the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at the University of Frankfurt am Main, as well as the Institute for Critical Theory at the Zurich University of the Arts. It was sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The project comprised a variety of research projects, art works, events and film programs. The assorted activities focused on the history of labor migration since the 1950s and the accompanying social changes. An exhibition was among the events and activities of Project Migration. It was shown in four central locations in Cologne from fall 2005 through the beginning of 2006. It marked the 50th anniversary of the German-Italian Recruitment Agreement (deutsch-italienisches Anwerbevertrag). That agreement, signed December 20, 1955, signifies formal beginning of migration to Germany from the lands of the Mediterranean and Portugal. The exhibition addressed the impact of migration on society and illustrated how migration had shaped Germany and Europe. Furthermore, through its examination of the past and present, the exhibition questioned the future potential of migration (Picture: Dietrich Hackenberg/DOMiD-Archive, Cologne).
The exhibition "Divided Home / Shared Home. 50 Years of Migration from Turkey" was another milestone in DOMiD's history. It was shown in three German cities. The exhibition marked the 50th anniversary of the German-Turkish labor recruitment agreement (deutsch-türkisches Anwerbeabkommen) in 2011. DOMiD designed the exhibition, which examined the history of immigration from Turkey to Germany through different perspectives. "Divided Home / Shared Home" was shown in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Cologne in late 2011. In Berlin, the exhibition was displayed in the German Historical Museum's special exhibition space, the adapted courtyard of that historic building (Schlüterhof des Zeughauses). Thus, migration history was shown in the center of German memory culture. The next step would be the inclusion of migration history into the permanent collection. The first part of the exhibition was comprised of life-sized photo portraits. The portraits depict three generation of immigrant families in Germany: the "guest workers" who emigrated from Turkey, their children and their grandchildren (Portraits of 3 Generations). In the second part of the exhibition, 50 migration stories were recounted through photos, objects and documents from private lenders. Through those individual stories, the exhibition illustrated successes, as well as challenges (Picture: Metin Yilmaz/DOMiD-Archive, Cologne)
Motiv Migration - Kölner Geschichte(n) | 16.03.2019 - 12.04.2019 | Kulturbunker Cologne-Mülheim | DOMiD conducted "Projekt Migration" in cooperation with the Kölnischer Kunstverein, the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at the Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, and the "Institut für Theorie der Gestaltung und Kunst an der Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst" in Zürich. The project was sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The project covered a variety of research projects, art campaigns, events, and film programmes. At the centre of all this work was the history of labour migration since the 1950s, as well as the societal changes brought about by these migration movements. One of the many events and campaigns was an exhibition, which could be found between the autumn of 2005 and early 2006 at four different places in central Cologne. The exhibition marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the German-Italian labour recruitment agreement on 20 December 2005. This was the formal beginning of migration between various Mediterranean countries, as well as Portugal, and Germany. The exhibition focused on the societal changes effected by migration. It thus presented a Germany and Europe shaped by migration. Beyond that, from a consideration of history and the present situation, it mapped out the question of the future potential of migration. A multilingual catalogue published by DuMont Verlag complemented the exhibition. It contained photographic and artistic images, documents, and interviews, as well as essays contributed by international scholars. For its extraordinary design, concept, and workmanship, the catalogue was awarded a prize by the Stiftung Buchkunst in 2005. (Picture: DOMiD-Archive, Cologne).
Motif series: "Migration history in pictures"
In our series of motifs: "Migration history in pictures" we take you on a journey through time through the history of migration in Germany from 1945 to the present. Every month a new motif will be published.
Motif series "Migration history in images"
"Contract worker" in the GDR
From 1967 to 1986, the GDR recruited so-called contract workers to counter the shortage of skilled workers. How did they fare and what are the long-term consequences? This is what we are dealing with in this online story.
The strike at the Neuss-based automotive supplier Pierburg made headlines nationwide in 1973. The article tells the story of how foreign workers and Germans worked together to improve working conditions.
Invisible Caretakers – labor migration of women in Germany
Labor migration is often associated with male migrants, when in fact, female migrants represent a remarkable amount of the workforce, e.g. in the health sector. This article describes the roles of migrant women using the example of Korean nurses.
“Guest worker” music between self-empowerment and commercial success
In addition to working in Germany, music and culture were important components of their free time for many migrant workers. In the current online story, we deal with music interacting with political engagement.
“Guest workers” ("Gastarbeiter") - this problematic term was used to designate foreign workers who were only supposed to work in Germany for a short time. In the German Liaison Office in Istanbul, these boards advertised job seekers.
In our motif series "Migration history in pictures", we will start with one of the oldest exhibits in our collection: a directory of the designated "Sudeten Germans" in the Hessian community of Kehrenbach.