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Sound Installation

Listening Post 1941 | я слышу войну
German-Russian Sound Installation

05|07| until 15|07|2018


This German-Russian dialogue project consists of a two-part radio play and an interactive sound installation. Its theme is the German war of extermination against the Soviet Union. At the centre of the collage of many voices is the Siege of Leningrad in which more than a million people were killed by hunger, cold and artillery shells during the Wehrmacht’s 900-day blockade of the city that began in September 1941. But the ‘listening post’ also includes other events of the war and describes how both victims and perpetrators, soldiers and civilians lived and died, fought and killed during wartime.

The installation is divided into five zones: the Soviet and German hinterlands, the front and the territories controlled respectively by the two countries with the Siege of Leningrad as the centrepiece. Visitors can move freely through the space and choose their own route. In the German hinterland section, for example, they can trace the development of and the propaganda for the ‘Master Plan for the East’ while in the Soviet hinterland sector they can experience the horror of the German Siege of Leningrad from the perspective of the people trapped in the city. Here history is presented first-hand: the visitor views human suffering not in the abstract as information to be consumed but directly in interaction with real people. The acoustic material is derived from diaries and letters as well as from historical political and military documents from Germany and the Soviet Union. 

The official opening of the sound installation will take place on 4 July at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Max-Mannheimer-Platz 1. During the public opening event the two authors Jochen Langner and Andreas Westphalen will explain how the dialogue project involving many partners came into being. The historian Jörg Ganzenmüller from the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena will explain the historical background.

The interactive Russian-German sound installation will offer a space for visitors to commemorate and re-experience the German war of extermination against the Soviet Union, in particular the Siege of Leningrad, individually. The goal is not only to present the experiences of the war generation of each respective country to Russian and German visitors but also to permit a change of perspective allowing visitors to view events through the eyes of the former enemy. The installation thus offers an opportunity to engage in a dialogue of remembrance beyond the typically national point of view. 

‘Listening Post 1941 | я слышу войну’ is a joint production of the radio stations Deutschlandfunk, Radio Ekho Moskvy and Westdeutsche Rundfunk. The project is funded by the German Foreign Office, the Foundation ‘Memory, Responsibility and Future’, the ZEIT Foundation, the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, Moscow and the German-Russian Forum.

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