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Wehrmachtausstellung Closed

Author: Peter Witte

November 4, 1999


Reply-To: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust

German TV news just reported that the "Wehrmachtsausstellung" will be closed down for at least 3 months. The opening of the exhibition in New York will be postponed to a later date next year. The exhibition will be reworked completely during this period and each photo will be reexamined refering to its authenticity by a new independent group of experts in order to regain lost credibility.

Historians, who criticised pictures which in fact showed political prisoners killed by the Soviet NKVD in the place of Jews murdered by the Wehrmacht as was maintained or showed Finnish resp. Hungarian soldiers in acts of atrocity who were confused with Germans, were invited to join this newly founded team. Jan Philipp Reemtsma, director of the Hamburger Institut fuer Sozialforschung, apologized in public and regretted that the HIS had not reacted to scholarly criticism as it would have been appropriate.

My opinion: This reaction was overdue. Among others a close friend of mine, who is working as a historian in Munich, told organizer Hannes Heer already in 1996 that wrong photos were on display. The HIS did not care, but sued open critics and denounced them in public because of their uttered criticism. So returning to an open scholarly debate will be very much welcome now.

Peter Witte


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