WAR and PEACE: Brandenburg in the Wake of 1945—Kulturland Brandenburg 2020

The date May 8, 1945 marked the point that came to be known as “Hour Zero” in German history. Personal accounts of individuals reveal how the people of Brandenburg experienced it as a day of both “catastrophe” and “liberation” in view of the tremendous destruction everywhere, the seemingly endless number of casualties, the widespread misery, and the fear of the Soviet occupation coupled with hopes for peace, freedom, and an end to National Socialism.

Now, seventy-five years after the end of World War II, the focus of this year’s Kulturland Brandenburg project of commemoration entitled “WAR and PEACE: Brandenburg in the Wake of 1945—Kulturland Brandenburg 2020” is to historically explore the period from 1945 to the present. Addressing the individual memories and experiences of the people of Brandenburg, the aim of the 2020 commemoration activities (“Themenjahr 2020”) is to promote dialogue on the culture of remembrance as well as historical and democratic developments throughout the past 75 years.

Kulturland Brandenburg 2020 invites Brandenburg’s citizens and visitors to learn about not only the state’s cultural heritage and cultural diversity but also the crises and turning points in this history. The artistic and cultural projects to be presented in collaboration with numerous partners intersect with academic research, tourism, and cultural education in exploring the impact of the historical events of 1945 on the state and its people. Brandenburg history is examined by looking at the life stories of individuals, the legacy of the war, and the societal change caused by the resulting new political order.

Kulturland Brandenburg 2020 is taking up an initiative of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg that will stage an exhibition entitled “Potsdam Conference 1945—Shaping the World” at Cecilienhof Palace, devoted to communicating the impact, still felt today, of the post-war order proceeding from the Potsdam Conference. After all, World War II has had a lasting impact on Europe.

This year’s commemorating activities will commence on April 23, 2020 with the official opening in Tröbitz, South Brandenburg.

An overview of the activities is already available in our calendar of events and in the program for “WAR and PEACE. Brandenburg in the Wake of 1945.”