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Dealing with the Nazi Era after 1945

After 1945 | till today

The final section of the permanent exhibition is devoted to the post-1945 period. The new beginning following the collapse of the regime was initially characterised by de-Nazification and democratisation, but also by confronting Nazi crimes. The exhibition uses a number of examples to illustrate how people were eager to deny their own guilt and often did not feel particularly ashamed of what had happened.

Nazi symbols were removed from public places in Munich, but the fact that many Nazi officials remained in their posts cast a shadow over the new beginning. If perpetrators were brought to trial they could usually expect light sentences. Nevertheless, the city council, the Bavarian constitution and the media all proved successful in implementing a new democratic order. 

The exhibition also illustrates the successes and failures of the restitution process, citing examples of cases where compensation was refused or where victims of Nazi terror continued to be discriminated.

Finally, the exhibition concludes with a survey of how Munich has addressed its Nazi past, vacillating between a reappraisal of history, “business as usual” and denial.  Although most of the traces of the Nazi era were expunged from the urban landscape (the “Brown House”, the Wittelsbacher Palais), or grass was literally allowed to grow over them (Königsplatz, the “Temples of Honour”), citizens of Munich initiated campaigns against forgetting and denying the past and for sought to implement a vivid culture of remembrance.  A resurgence of right-wing radicalism and xenophobia gave rise to protests. An interactive media installation – “Newsticker” – with current press reports about the continuing existence of Nazi ideas concludes the exhibition.

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