War, Captivity and Homecoming
The exhibition on the ground floor looks at prisoners of war’s (POWs’) life in camps after the end of the Second World War. Numerous wall charts and statistics about soldiers in captivity worldwide as well as images illustrate the topic. Four display cabinets contain souvenirs brought back home by former POWs. These include everyday objects made from simplest materials during captivity: wooden spoons and knives, clothing items, but also greeting cards, a chessboard with hand carved pieces and an issue of the camp paper Die lustige Drahtpost (The Jolly Mail) from 1947. A special highlight is a zither, made at a POW camp in Reims/France; the strings for this still fully functioning instrument were fashioned from tin cans.
A documentation about life after captivity occupies the upper floor. The building of special housing and estates and reintegration of veterans into civilian life are examples of the themes addressed. The last prisoners to be released from internment returned to their homes in 1955, ten years after the end of the war.
This permanent exhibition was furnished in cooperation with the Hesse Society of Repatriates, Prisoners of War and Families of Servicemen Missing in Action.