Käthe Kollwitz Museum

Käthe Kollwitz was a leading German artist whose art explored the themes of hunger, war and persecution while criticising society and supporting the peace movement of her time.

Käthe Kollwitz (*1867 †1945) was born in Kaliningrad, Prussia. As a young woman, she studied art in Kaliningrad, Berlin and Munich. She moved to Berlin in 1891 with her husband. She became an art teacher and in 1919 a professor and the first female member of the Prussian Academy of Art.

Her etchings, drawings and woodcuts examine poverty, hunger, homelessness, the suppression of women and the revolt against exploitation. In 1914 one of her two sons died as a soldier in the First World War. This experience brought her into contact with the pacifist movement, and from then on she openly condemned the war and depicted its horrors in many of her works.

“I want to make a difference to act in this time when people are at a loss and in need of support.”
– Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz worked for the Internationale Arbeiterhilfe (Workers International Relief) and supported the socialist and anti-military movements of the day. In 1924 she designed the general assembly poster for ‘Anti-War Day’, a commemoration of the beginning of the First World War that was held annually to promote disarmament and peace. That same year, she also designed posters of protest against war and against the abortion clause for the ‘Socialist Workers’ Movement’ and the Communist Party.

A recurring motive in her work is parents’ pain over the loss of their children through famine or war. Two of her most famous works are the sculpture Mutter mit totem Sohn (Mother with Her Dead Son) in the Neue Wache in Berlin—a controversial place of remembrance—and the sculpture Trauerndes Elternpaar (Grieving Parents) at the soldiers’ cemetery in Vladsloo, where her son is buried.

In 1936 she signed the Dringenden Appell (the Urgent Call for Unity) against National Socialism, and as a result was forced to resign membership of the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Art). Her works were also removed from the academy’s collection, which amounted to a professional ban. She died in Moritzburg in 1945, a few days before the end of the war.

In 1922 she wrote in her diary: ‘When I think that I have worked in an international community against the war, I have a warm, flooding feeling of satisfaction (…) I agree that my art should serve a purpose. I want to make a difference in a time when people are at a loss and in need of support’.

Food for thought: What is the role of pacifism in your country today?

Opening hours
Mon-Sun 11am–6pm
Entry Fee 6 Euro, reductions 3 Euro
Additional information
Käthe Kollwitz www.kaethe-kollwitz.de
Public transport
Underground U1 Uhlandstraße
Underground U9 Kurfürstendamm
Bus M19, M29, X10, 109, 110 Uhlandstraße

Carl von Ossietzky

Carl von Ossietzky worked in this house as editor of the weekly Die Weltbühne. As a pacifist journalist and publicist he warned of militarism and nationalism in the Weimar Republic and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936.

Carl von Ossietzky (*1889 †1938), writer and figurehead of resistance against the National Socialist regime, was an accurate observer and keen analyst of the political situation in the Weimar Republic. He gave an early warning of the danger of an approaching war, campaigned for the democratisation of the German Empire and fought against militarism, armament and warmongering.

In 1911, Carl von Ossietzky published his first article in the newspaper Das freie Volk (The Free People). In the year 1914, he was charged with ‘Insulting the Military Jurisdiction’ for the first time. His experience of the First World War, where he witnessed the Battle of Verdun, had a lasting effect on him. He returned as a confirmed pacifist and from then on wrote articles against the romanticising of war and its continuation. Together with other activists, he founded the initiative Nie wieder Krieg (Never Again War) in 1919.

“We cannot appeal to the conscience of the world when our own conscience is asleep.”
– Carl von Ossietzky

From 1926 onwards, he initially wrote in, and then edited the weekly newspaper Die Weltbühne (The World Stage). During the Weimar Republic this was the most important forum of the civil democratic left and shaped public political opinion.

In 1932, following the publication of an article on the covert armament of the ‘Reichswehr’ (armed forces of the Weimar Republic), which as editor he was answerable for, Carl von Ossietzky was arrested for treason and sentenced to eighteen months in jail, but was freed on amnesty. After the National Socialists seized power, he declined to emigrate and shortly afterwards was re-arrested, tortured and interned in a concentration camp.

In 1936 he received the Nobel Peace Prize in retrospect for the year 1935, but the Gestapo refused him permission to travel to the prize giving ceremony in Oslo. He died in May 1938 while in custody. Posterity has not honoured the Nobel Peace Prize winner to any great extent. In West Germany, the anti-communism feeling that prevailed during the post-war period prevented a clearer perspective of his merits, while the GDR attempted to relativise his unconditional pacifism. Today Carl von Ossietzky is an important reference in the struggle against war and for freedom of expression.

Food for thought: How is freedom of expression related to the matter of peace today?

Public transport
Underground U1, U9 Zoologischer Garten
Underground U1 Uhlandstraße
Train S5, S7, S75 Zoologischer Garten
Bus M49, X34 Uhlandstraße/Kantstraße
Time to the next peace trail station
8 minutes

LGBT Memorial

Two memorial plaques commemorate the first homosexual emancipation movement and the determined, affirmative advocacy for human rights and sexual diversity.

Since 2011 two memorial plaques have stood on Magnus-Hirschfeld-Ufer to commemorate the first homosexual emancipation movement formed more than one hundred years ago in Berlin. They honour the people who, as early as the beginning of the 20th century, campaigned for the decriminalisation of homo and transsexuality and for an equal, respectful coexistence. The plaques were mounted on the initiative of the German Lesbian and Gay Society.

The Jewish homosexual doctor, Magnus Hirschfeld (*1868 †1935), and other activists founded the ‘Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee’ (WhK – Scientific humanitarian commitee), which was the first organisation in the world to campaign for the lifting of anti-homosexual laws in accordance with ‘Paragraph 175’ and who educated the public in matters of same-sex relationships. It was mostly through the work of the WhK that in the years of the Weimar Republic there was a wider acceptance of sexual diversity in Berlin.

The ‘Institut für Sexualwissenschaft’ (The Institute of Sexual Science) was opened in 1919 in this street by Magnus Hirschfeld and his colleagues. In 1933, it was damaged and looted by the National Socialists. Hirschfeld died two years later in exile in France.

Remembering victims whose fate was excluded from public remembrance for so long

Tens of thousands of homosexual men were kidnapped and interned in prisons and concentration camps, where they were tortured. Many of them died. Today, a Memorial in the Tiergarten and a memorial plaque at Nollendorfplatz honour the victims whose fate was excluded from public remembrance for so long. The ‘Schwules Museum’* (Gay Museum*) documents the persecution and the decades of homosexual life that were kept invisible. The paragraph 175 remained in place in an altered form after the Nazi era and was only abolished in 1994.

Even today, lesbians, gays and persons of transgender are still confronted with prejudice, discrimination and violence, although political and social acceptance of sexual diversity in Germany is growing. Nevertheless, the history of the homosexual emancipation movement remains a story of determined, affirmative advocacy for human rights and sexual diversity.

Food for thought: How can emancipation movements help to build a peaceful society?

Public transport
Train S5, S7, S75 Bellevue
Bus 100, 187 Schloß Bellevue
Time to the next peace trail station
22 minutes by bus

Sinti-Roma Memorial

The Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe Murdered under the National Socialist Regime was inaugurated in 2012. It shows how memory changes over time and invites us to reflect on marginalisation and to uphold human rights today.

In 2012, directly across from the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament, a new, central place of remembrance was inaugurated: the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe Murdered under the National Socialist Regime by artist Dani Karavan.

Hundreds of thousands of Sinti, Roma and people of other groups were persecuted and murdered between 1933 and 1945 under the racial ideology of the National Socialists. In the Federal Republic of Germany as well as in the GDR, these people were largely written out of the official culture of remembrance. Only after much persistence by the Zentralrat der Deutschen Sinti und Roma (Central Council of German Sinti and Roma) did public awareness grow and, with it, the willingness of the Federal Government to appoint a memorial site.

“A reminder to protect minorities in the future”

Situated directly opposite the parliament, centre of the democratic decision-making process, the location of this monument is particularly symbolic. It shall, according to the preamble, not only honour the victims ‘but (…) also (exist) as a solemn reminder to fight discrimination against Sinti and Roma’ and to call for a firm commitment to human rights and protection of minorities in the future.

The delayed completion of this monument further reflects how memory and thought processes are invariably influenced by the present, and how they change and are reconfigured over time. Memory is always multifaceted: beyond the official commemorative discourse, there are a variety of alternative memories which often become apparent only after many years of campaigning by individual groups. Many of the Sinti and Roma living in Germany today experience blanket discrimination, racial exclusion or even direct attacks. The construction of this monument alone is not enough to change the social structures of discrimination.

However, these places of commemoration can help us link the memories of the past to an awareness of the marginalisation present today, and invite us to develop an inclusive understanding of diversity and human rights in our society.

Food for thought: Which groups in our society are written out of today’s collective memory and culture of remembrance?

Additional information
Memorial Foundation www.stiftung-denkmal.de/denkmaeler/denkmal-fuer-die-ermordeten-sinti-und-roma.html
Public transport
Underground U55 Brandenburger Tor
Train S5, S7, S75 Brandenburger Tor
Bus M85, 100 Reichstag/Bundestag
Time to the next peace trail station
20 minutes by metro

Berlin wall Memorial

The chapel echoes the name of the detonated Church of Reconciliation, connecting it with the mandate for reconciliation associated with this memorial place in the former ‘death strip’ by the Berlin Wall.

On 13 August 1961, the GDR government began building the Berlin Wall. Over the course of the following years, a complex system of border security would be expanded to hinder migration to West Germany. At least one hundred and thirty-six people died at the Berlin Wall up to 1989, ninety of whom were shot at the border.

The Berlin Wall Memorial, with its ensemble of buildings and 1.3-kilometre strip of wall, documents the fate of residents of Bernauer Strasse, which marked the boundary between East and West. It shows examples of the results of building the Wall: families and friends cut off from one another, life plans abandoned, the cityscape dissected. In the initial few days following the building of the Wall, many East Berliners fled via houses in Bernauer Strasse that fronted directly on to the borderline.

One of the focal places of reflection on German partition and its peaceful outcome

The old ‘Versoehnungskirche’ (Church of Reconciliation) stood directly on top of the border strip and was unreachable for the community. In 1985 the GDR government blew it up. The new Chapel of Reconciliation (Kapelle der Versöhnung) was inaugurated in the year 2000, on the foundations of the old church, as a place of reflection and prayer. The rye field beside the chapel represents the cycle of sowing, growing and death. It is a symbol of the return of life to the former ‘death strip’ and of the transformation of this place.

The memorial features a wide-ranging permanent exhibition of the history of the Berlin Wall. It comprises the Visitors’ Centre, the Documentation Centre, the Chapel of Forgiveness, a section of the former border zone, and several memorial sculptures. The memorial also organises events and training courses and carries out research projects on the inner-German partition.

Visitors will find here a place to commemorate the peaceful outcome of division. The memorial centre allows room to reflect on borders and overcoming division, past and present. It is also a place which invites reflection on forms of peaceful protest and the possibilities of change in our society.

Food for thought: Which visible or invisible boundaries divide people in Berlin, or in your city, today?

Opening hours
Visitors' Centre and Documentation Centre
April–October: Tue–Sun 9.30am-7pm
November–March: Tue–Sun 9.30am-6pm
The Documentation Centre is closed until November 2014 due to construction work. During this time the tower is open Mon-Sun from 9.30am-4.15pm.
Admission is free
Additional information
Berlin Wall Memorial www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de
Public transport
Underground U6 Naturkundemuseum
Underground U8 Bernauer Straße
Train S1, S2, S25 Nordbahnhof
Tram M10 Nordbahnhof/Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
Bus 245, 247
Time to the next peace trail station
20 minutes by metro

Schwarzenberg House

Haus Schwarzenberg is home to several memorial places of resistance to National Socialism as well as a place of artistic activity in the present. It is a place of diversity, openness and civil courage.

Haus Schwarzenberg connects the associations of the past with initiatives and people who are shaping the present and future in making an open space for independent modern art. The initiatives, groups and individuals gathered here, ensure a vision of a peaceful and liveable city.

There are several memorial places in Haus Schwarzenberg. The Gedenkstätte Stille Helden (Silent Heroes Memorial Center) recalls Jewish people who from 1933 to 1945 were in danger of persecution by the Nazis, and those who helped them to go underground to escape this persecution. Approximately five thousand Jews survived in Germany in hiding through help from people who assisted their flight. One example of this support for Jews in Berlin was the owner of a small factory, Otto Weidt. The Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt (Museum of Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind) is a memorial to his actions. He tried to ensure his workers were safe from deportation and persecution and hid several of them in a back room at his factory for the blind. This room is on view in its original state. These supporters show that even in the Third Reich there was leeway for civil courage and solidarity with the persecuted.

A place where plans for the future are connected with remembrance of the past

The Anne Frank Centre commemorates the life of the Jewish girl Anne Frank and offers workshops for young people and training events for teachers. It campaigns for freedom, equality, democracy and fights antisemitism, racism and discrimination.

The Haus Schwarzenberg organisation offers a forum for avant garde art, graffiti and street art and rents studio and gallery space to international artists, thereby helping to maintain a diverse arts scene in Berlin. The Neurotitan Gallery presents works from non-mainstream artists and musicians. History and the present meet at Haus Schwarzenberg. Citizens have mobilised themselves here to honour the past’s living solidarity and to open a space for new cultural life.

Food for thought: What are today’s forms of civil resistance and civil courage?

Opening hours
Anne Frank Centre
Tue–Sun 10am–6pm
Entry Fee 5 Euro, reductions 3 Euro
Gallery Neurotitan
Mon–Sat 12am–8pm, Sun 2pm–7pm
Admission is free
Silent heroes memorial centre
Mon–Sun 10am–8pm
Admission is free
Museum of Otto Weidt's Workshop for the Blind
Mon–Sun 10am–8pm
Admission is free
Public transport
Underground U8 Weinmeisterstraße
Train S5, S7, S75 Hackescher Markt
Tram M4, M5, M6 Hackescher Markt
Tram M1, 12 Weinmeisterstraße/Gipsstraße
Time to the next peace trail station
20 minutes by metro or tram

Stumbling Blocks

The memory of the victims of National Socialism has become part of our everyday lives, thanks to the Stolpersteine project, which invites active commemoration.

The Stolpersteine project is a new kind of remembrance in the public space,integrated with everyday life and, perhaps for that reason, particularly impressive. Everywhere in Berlin, we stumble at house entrances over small, brass squares embedded in the pavement. These memorial plaques are engraved with the words, “Here lived…” followed by names and dates of birth and death. Each ‘Stolperstein’ commemorates a person at this address who was persecuted, murdered or forced into exile or suicide. Surviving family members are also named in order to create a ‘reunion’ in remembrance.

“A person is only forgotten if his or her name is forgotten.” This quotation from the Talmud is the leitmotif of artist Gunter Demnig’s project.

A central aspect of the Stolpersteine idea is that everyone is invited to take part and suggest another place where one should be laid. In other words, anyone can research the history of the person to be commemorated (the Stolperstein project provides information for research) and raise the necessary material costs for the laying of the ‘Stolperstein’, thus becoming its patron. In this way, remembrance becomes a collective act made possible and visible through people’s initial involvement.

Many have already taken the initiative: residents of the houses where the victims lived, relatives, school classes… There are already more than 4,700 Stolpersteine in Berlin. In total, over 40,000 of these personal memorials have been laid, with more than 8,600 of them in Germany. Stolpersteine are also to be found in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Italy, Norway, Ukraine, Slovakia and Luxembourg, and since 2012 also in Russia and Croatia.

The Stolpersteine are considered the world’s largest, decentralised memorial. They stand in our present time as a memory to the victims of National Socialist persecution and are at once an appeal to all individuals to become active participants in remembrance.

Food for thought: What role can the remembrance of past injustice take in our everyday lives?

“A person is only forgotten if his or her name is forgotten”

Additional information
Stolpersteine www.stolpersteine.com
Public transport
Underground U8 Weinmeisterstraße
Train S5, S7, S75 Hackescher Markt
Tram M4, M5, M6 Hackescher Markt
Tram M1, 12 Weinmeisterstraße/Gipsstraße
Time to the next peace trail station
0 minutes


It was here in 1943 that the only public demonstration of resistance against German National Socialism took place. The Rosenstrasse Protest has made this street a symbolic location for the power of civil disobedience.

An administration building of the Jüdische Kultusvereinigung (Jewish Cultural Affairs Association) was located here in 1943. On 27 February 1943, the National Socialists led the largest wave of arrests for the deportation of non-privileged German Jews still in the territory of the German Reich and the registration of the so-called ‘half-Jews’ and Jews living in mixed marriages. More than one thousand Jewish forced labourers married to non-Jewish women were brought to the building in Rosenstraße 2- 4 and detained there.

SS soldiers threatened to shoot the women but the women kept returning

That same day the relatives of the Jews who had been arrested began to congregate in front of the building, an unprecedented protest action in the Nazi era. Contemporary witnesses reported up to six thousand protesters, mostly women, who persevered in vociferously demanding the release of their husbands. Demonstrations critical of the regime had been forbidden since 1933 and the SS guards (Schutzstaffel) threatened to shoot the women. Time and again the women had to seek refuge in the surrounding streets and time and again they returned.

On 6 March 1943 Jews in mixed marriages interned in Rosenstraße were released on the orders of the Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

The Rosenstraßen Protest is regarded as the one single act of resistance against deportation ever to have taken place in national socialist Germany and the street has become a symbolic location for the power of civil disobedience.

The administration building in Rosenstraße 2-4 was later destroyed in an air raid. Today, a multipieced sculpture, Der Block der Frauen (The Women’s Block) by Ingeborg Hunzinger, exists as a memorial and a commemorative ‘Litfaßsäule’—a historic advertising column—stands in the same place where a similar column stood in 1943 and which contemporary witnesses reported served as a shield during the protest.

In the hotel Alexander Plaza Berlin, Rosenstraße 1, there is a small exhibition with photos and explanatory panels about the street’s history.

Food for thought: Which current places of resistance and civil disobedience do you know?

Additional information
Rosenstraßen-Protest www.rosenstrasse-protest.de
Public transport
Train S5, S7, S75 Hackescher Markt
Tram M1, M4, M5, M6 Hackescher Markt
Bus M48 100, 200, TXL Spandauer Straße/Marienkirche
Time to the next peace trail station
5 minutes walking

World Peace Service

The Weltfriedensdienst is a non profit organisation which embraces the principles of reconciliation, understanding between peoples and dialogue. Since its foundation the WFD has formed part of the peace movement in West Germany.

The Weltfriedensdienst (WFD) was founded in 1959 under the umbrella group the ‘Service for Reconciliation’ as a reaction to the decision to engage in rearmament in the Federal Republic of Germany. Rather than plans for weapons and deterrents, the founding members were convinced that reconciliation, understanding between peoples and help with reconstruction in countries destroyed by the German Army was necessary to make the world a safer place.

The first WFD project was to send a group of young people to help rebuild the town of Servia in Greece that had been destroyed by German ‘Wehrmacht’ troops during World War II. In the 1960s, the WDF began working in southern European countries. The members view their work as a campaign against the unequal division of society’s wealth and resources, caused by an imbalance in the international economic order. In this sense, the improvement of living conditions of disadvantaged demographic groups is peace in action.

No peace without development, no development without peace

The WFD has been recognised by the German government as a development cooperation partner since 1971. Trained development and peace professionals have since supported partner organisations in Africa, Latin America, Palestine and South Asia. The main focuses of their cooperation are education and training, incorporating women’s rights and human rights, protecting renewable resources, health, and civil conflict resolution. An equivalent level of cooperation between project partners is therefore desirable.

Convinced that changes in the north are also required in order to achieve global justice, the WDF extended their political development work to within Germany. Through political development education, lobbying and publicity work, the WDF campaigns for the problems os southern states to be recognised in a global context, simultaneously promoting an increasing awareness of the responsibility of the northern hemisphere and helping to reduce prejudice in German society.

The work of the WDF has contributed fundamentally to furthering the understanding of peace, and continues to include the correlation of peace and justice to the debate on development policies.

Food for thought: Which role do north-south relations and global power arrangements play in your understanding of peace?

Opening hours
after personal arrangement
Phone (+49).0.30 253990-0
Additional information
World Peace Service www.wfd.de
Public transport
Underground U6 Kochstraße
Train S1, S2, S25 Anhalter Bahnhof
Bus M29 Kochstraße
Time to the next peace trail station
28 minutes by metro

Hedwig Dohm

The writer, women’s rights campaigner and pacifist was born in this house. In her essays, she espoused the emancipation of women and was against militarism and the enthusiasm for the First World War.

The writer Hedwig Dohm (*1831 †1919) was an early pioneer of feminism. In her humorous, wry texts she advocated gender equality. Hedwig Dohm was obliged to leave school at fifteen to help in the household while her brothers went to secondary school. She later trained as a teacher, married, had five children and started writing. She gained fame in the 1870s, when her first feminist articles were published.

Financial independence, she wrote, and thus being in a position to make autonomous decisions about one’s own life, are the only ways for women to avoid landing in the ‘trap of marriage’. Housework and childcare should be carried out by institutions to allow mothers to continue their occupations. She was one of the first to connect gender-specific behaviour to cultural influence rather than biological assignation.

“Human rights have no gender.”
– Hedwig Dohm

Hedwig Dohm advocated women’s suffrage and equal education rights for boys and girls. She was a founding member of many organisations seeking to introduce sex education, women’s education and the rights of mothers.

Her essay Die Antifeministen (The Antifeminists) became her most famous work, in which she dissected the ideology of her contemporary pioneers and debunked their contradictions and fear of the female sex as those vindicating claims of power. She drew even more criticism for her feminist works, not only from “men’s rights advocates“ but from within the ranks of the bourgeois women’s movement, for whom her theses were too radical.

In her late essays, Hedwig Dohm identified herself as a confirmed pacifist. She was one of the few intellectuals who condemned the widespread enthusiasm for war at the beginning of WW1. She lived to see the introduction of votes for women in Germany. After her death in 1919, her work faded into oblivion before being rediscovered by feminists in the 1970s. Today, the ‘Deutscher Journalistinnen-Bund’ (German Union of Female Journalists) awards the ‘Hedwig-Dohm-Urkunde’ (Hedwig Dohm Certificate) yearly to a female journalist who has shown an outstanding commitment to women’s policies.

Food for thought: What is the status of women’s rights and opportunities in our society today?

Opening hours
Mon–Sun 12am–12pm
Public transport
Underground U1Hallesches Tor
Underground U6Kochstraße
Bus M41, 248 Hallesches Tor
Bus M29Kochstraße
Time to the next peace trail station
1 minute walking