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On Tyranny. Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

01|10|2021 until 30|01|2022

With Nora Krug and Timothy Snyder

The book “On Tyranny” published in 2017 caused an international sensation. In it the historian and Yale professor Timothy Snyder takes a retrospective look at important moments for democracy in the history of Europe (1918, 1945, 1989) and, with reference to current political events in the United States, underlines that civil society must be constantly vigilant if it is to counter authoritarian threats. Snyder’s precisely formulated proposals for how to withstand group pressure, defend institutions, listen for dangerous words, and check facts … encourage us to ask questions and initiate political discussions – in the best case, they prompt us to become active in the name of a robust democracy. 

Born in Karlsruhe, the prize-winning artist and author Nora Krug has lived in New York for almost twenty years. She constantly looks for traces left behind by the Nazi era – traces that embody individual memories – not least in order to understand her own origins and identity better. In her book “Heimat. Ein deutsches Familienalbum” (Heimat: A German Family Album) Krug traced her own family’s past in literary and graphic terms. Nora Krug has illustrated Snyder’s appeal for action, adding an artistic perspective to his strategies for countering populism and authoritarian leadership. She combines her drawings and hand-written graphic stories with photographs and archive pieces, thus taking a completely new approach to Snyder’s theses, framing them in artistic terms. The graphic edition of “On Tyranny. Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” was published on October 5, 2021 by Ten Speed Press.

The exhibition is based on Nora Krug’s illustrations and her examination of historical experiences and contemporary political activity. Quotations from Snyder are juxtaposed with Krug’s original drawings and collages to form an intervention that is shown at the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism. In addition, objects that Nora Krug found at flea markets and in antique stores in the course of her research are displayed. The various chapters of the exhibition are linked by a commentary by Nora Krug on her methods of working.

Nora Krug on the 20 lessons and her work

Artist Nora Krug has talked to the curator Karolina Kühn about Tymothy Snyder's lessons and her illustrations. This resulted in twenty short video clips that give an insight into the illustrated edition of “On Tyranny” and our exhibition.

More lessons to follow..

Opening of the exhibition

The opening took place on 30 September 2021, 7 p.m. at the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism.

Nora Krug

Nora Krug is an illustrator and author whose work has appeared, among others, in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Le Monde diplomatique. She has received several fellowships and prizes and teaches as an Associate Professor of Illustration at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her book “Belonging. A German Reckons with History and Home” is an international bestseller.

Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and ranks among the most eminent intellectuals of the USA. “On Tyranny” has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold almost half a million copies in the USA alone. Snyder specializes in Eastern European history.


Making-of by Nora Krug

Exhibition impressions

© NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Edward Beierle
© NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Edward Beierle
© NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Edward Beierle
© NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Edward Beierle
© NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Edward Beierle
© NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Edward Beierle

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