Foreign Home

Original Title: "Fremde Heimat – Yaban, Sılan olur" (1998)

Foreign Home was the first major exhibition in Germany to focus on the topic of immigration. It also marked the first instance of cooperation between a prominent German museum and a migrant organization. DOMiD and the Ruhrland Museum Essen  (now called the Ruhr Museum) worked together to develop and present the exhibition.

 

The Exhibition

The exhibition chronicled the recruitment of labor migrants from Turkey, from the German-Turkish Labor Recruitment Agreement (Anwerbeabkommen) of 1961 to the recruitment ban (Anwerbestopp) of 1973. In addition to the recruitment, "Foreign Home" recounted the settlement process of the so-called "first generation," through the beginning of the 1980s. It included both Turkish and German perspectives. The exhibition focused on the early phases of migration in particular and outlined the roots of the debate about migration in West Germany at that time.

"Foreign Home" illustrated the world in which Turkish migrants worked and lived. Among the exhibition pieces were original furnishings from the laborer dormitories, documents, personal keepsakes and photographs from around 100 lenders, most of whom were private persons.

 

Around the Exhibition

Tours, offered in German, Turkish and sign language, provided more insight into the numerous exhibits. The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive program of events, which included cultural and athletic performances and various discussion rounds. "Foreign Home" enjoyed the interest of a lively public. A bilingual catalog and a bilingual overview were published to go along with the exhibition. Unfortunately, the catalog is currently out of stock.

 

Reviews in the Press:
 

"The art of showing the human face of those affected, behind the statistics and wording of the law, makes [the exhibition] not a lesson in tolerance, but a lesson in respect." From: "Traum und Realität im gelobten Land" ("Dream and Reality in the Promised Land"), in: taz, March 14 and 15, 1998.

"For the first time, a German museum addresses in detail– with academic input from German and Turkish experts – the history of the Turkish 'Guest Workers,' documenting their path to Germany and their life here." From: "Einladung zum Erinnern" ("Invitation to Remember"), in: Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, February 28, 1998.

 

Photo: Exhibition in Ruhrland Museum, Jens Nober, DOMiD Archive