Rumpelwunderkammerspiel

Rumpelkammer + Wunderkammer + Kammerspiel

Junk room + cabinet of wonders + a chamber play, an intimate drama set in a small space.

From the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s reviews of Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence novel and of the Museum of Innocence they created in Istanbul’s Çukurcuma neighborhood. It was just declared Europe’s museum of the year.

(ROOM pell VOON da CALM ah SHPEEL.)

Berlin-Hohenschönhausen-Ausstellung

Permanent exhibit in the former Stasi interrogation prison at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, where 40,000 East Germans were held prisoner. Includes photos of the prisoners, descriptions of how they were treated (torture, solitary, permanent surveillance, silent shoes on the guards, and prisoner uniforms deliberately issued in the wrong sizes, in “a system designed to break people”), evidence found of prisoners’ courage and good humor (bronx cheers and Latin vocabulary exercises written on napkins using coffee as ink). Also, as director Hubertus Knabe pointed out, the museum has added a new section with information about the Stasi prison’s guards. “What kind of people worked here? How did they live? How were they held together ideologically and brought in line? You can find that out here too.”

(Bear LYNN   ho! en shin HOW’S en   ow! ss shtell OONG.)

“Wissen, wie es war”

“To know what it was like.” Motto for the twentieth anniversary of the museum for the Stasi documents, the files and systems of the East German secret police, that were saved from destruction, reconstructed despite destruction, archived, read, evaluated, reread and shown to visitors from all over the world.

The decision to preserve the files was not as obvious now as it may seem in retrospect. Some well-meaning West German deciders wondered if finishing the Stasi’s destruction of the files might not be a benison to the Stasi’s victims, in the extremely short term. Fortunately for victims, for voters who in the decades since might otherwise have elected candidates with an “inoffizielle Mitarbeiter” (“unofficial coworker,” “unofficial employee”) past, for people living in police states who are making plans about what to do when the dictatorship falls, and for people living in potential police states, the documents were not destroyed, systems were developed to work with them while preserving privacy for the innocent, and the people at these archives are happy to share what they’ve learned with visitors.

(VISS en   vee   ess   vahr.)

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