Since 1990 DOMiD has been collecting social, cultural and micro-historical ("Alltagsgeschichte") testimonials. The founding members were themselves migrants. The first items loaned to the archive came from their circles of family, friends, and acquaintances. They also contacted companies and trade unions for further contemporary witnesses who were documenting Germany's migration history. Content-wise, they focused at the time on the era of the so-called guest work from Turkey.
In contrast to state-run archives, the collection grew as a bottom-up grassroots effort. So it was that DOMiD came to be in possession of a pool of material documenting the everyday lives of migrants, unique in Germany, including objects, documents and photographs, as well as audio-visual media. At the same time, the goal from the very beginning was to make available and present these materials and testimonials to a very broad audience. As a result, the collection was developed, under the guidance of experts, so that it would be directly usable for exhibition projects.
Besides testimonials on migration from abroad, the collection also features exhibits on internal migration from 1945 through the present day and offers numerous thematic points of reference on, for example, flight, expulsion, racism, resettlement, as well as multilocal ways of life. The diversity of topics demonstrates the complexity of our migration society and the constant struggle for the principle of "equal rights for all".
A unique spectrum of our collection
Carnival in workers' living quarters provided by Ford-Werke AG, Cologne, c. 1965 © DOMiD-Archive, BT 0648,0000
The scales of the Russo family store Cologne, 1970s © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
Outlaw List – a list of over 16,175 documented refugees and migrants, who have died on their way to and through the modern-day "Fortress Europe". © OUTLAW.die Stiftung / DOMiD-Archiv, Köln, E 1471 0001
"Pixibuch" belonging to a so-called "Kofferkind" (suitcase-child) with a longing note from the parents, who worked in Germany while their daughter grew up in Turkey, raised by relatives, c. 1975 © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln, SD 0731,0003
Flyer for a memorial service commemorating the death of human rights activist Enver Karagöz, Cologne, 2010 © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln, E 1139,0044
Language-learning game from the Italian boarding school "Kolleg Papa Giovanni XXIII", Pulheim-Stommeln, c. 1977 © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln, E 0226,0006 a-b
Hanbok of a South Korean nurse, 1966 © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
Longplaying record by Stelios Kazantzidis No.6., 1976 © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
Theodor Wonja Michael's travel typewriter from the 1960s © DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
A Collection Built on Trust
We build – and are built on – a basis of trust. DOMiD was founded by migrants. Our staff knows how sensitive personal memories are. That is why we take care to form close contact and relationships with our lenders. The DOMiD archive is built on a foundation of items given on loan or as gifts from private persons and institutions.
Do you have treasures in your attic or
If you are in possession of material pertaining to migration history and you would like to have them permanently and professionally cared for, please let us know!