It was back in November last year when I was living in London when an advertising for an exhibition in the British Museum caught my eye: Germany – memories of a nation
I don’t know why I was so struck by it. Maybe because there was no reference at all to the World War II on the poster. Normally, when there are exhibitions or documentaries about my country it is all about the Third Reich. As if we don’t have a 1000 year old history to offer! And I was totally interested how “outsiders” would define our memories and how they would put them on display.
It took me a couple of weeks till I finally made it to the British Museum. What I found super annoying was that I had to pre-register for a timeslot online. You can’t just walk in there. Something to get accostumed to.
And what shall I say? The exhibition was great! Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum totally outdid himself. It was professionally done (of course it was!!) with the right amount of “Fingerspitzengefühl” – the sense for sensitivity and really showed the memories of a nation – very touching. And it was great to see “my” history in a different perspective.
But unfortunately, the exhibition only ran til January 25, 2015. Here you can find some background information on it including interviews with Mr. MacGregor, trailers and the most important: THE PODCAST!
This exhibition was accompanied by a podcast from BBC 4. And I totally love it. Not only because of the voice of Neil MacGregor or because he really can pronounce German names and words :) No, but because he tells so many stories which you would normally not hear or see when people talk about German history.
It all starts with Episode 1 – The view from the Gate: http://bbc.in/1Bu9g18 in which he starts his journey through 600 years of German history at the Brandenburg Gate – 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The series covers topics like Käthe Kollwitz, The Bauhaus, Gutenberg, the 1848 revolution bringing us our black-red-gold flag, Holbein and the Hanse, The Walhalla or Luther – just to name a few.
The podcast series contains 30 single episodes which run about 15 minutes each: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04dwbwz/episodes/player
I cannot really decide which one is my most favourite episode, I love them all. I learnt so many new things about my own history, was moved to tears at some points, proud or ashamed at others.
If you are interested in German history at all, listen to the podcast series. You will be amazed what new things you learn about it.