„Shattered Image of Oneself“ © Khaled Barakeh

© Khaled Barakeh

Days of Exile Berlin

From September 8 to October 9, 2023, the Days of Exile took place for the first time in Berlin and in cooperation with the Exilmuseum Berlin Foundation. 50 events on the topic of exile invited visitors to explore historical and current experiences of exile and to reflect on the significance of political persecution and flight as well as belonging, foreignness and uprooting. Together with numerous partners – cinemas, museums, private initiatives, municipal institutions and foundations – we put together a varied program at 45 locations in Berlin.

The Days of Exile opened with the Long Night of Exile in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Patron Herta Müller gave the speech on exile. Discussions, readings and the presentation of the Exile Visual Arts Award rounded off the evening at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the multifaceted program of the Days of Exile for their commitment.

The Partner

Exilmuseum Berlin Foundation

Founded in 2018, the Exilmuseum Berlin Foundation is committed to establishing an exile museum at Berlin’s Anhalter Bahnhof as a central platform for the topic. It focuses on the exile of 1933-1945, but also builds a bridge to the present. The close-up view of individual exile biographies, presented through media and scenography, is intended to address overarching issues of the present, such as standing up for democracy, human rights and freedom. Since 2023, the foundation has been offering a place for discourse and encounters at its interim location “Werkstatt Exilmuseum” in a mixture of laboratory, exhibition and forum, which invites people to participate in shaping the museum.

The patron: Herta Müller

Herta Müller is patron of Tage des Exils Berlin 2023. The Romanian-born writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature went into exile in Germany in 1987. She is pushing to make experiences of exile visible and is patron of the Exilmuseum Berlin, which is currently being founded. In 2016, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature was the patroness of Tage des Exils in Hamburg.

Herta Müller
Herta Müller Photo and © David Ausserhofer

“Anyone who was able to escape from Germany into exile after 1933 was not considered a victim of the Nazi dictatorship after 1945, but someone who was able to save himself. Even as someone who did not have to experience the horrors of war.

Unfortunately, there is still no place in Germany’s memorial landscape that shows what the word exile actually means. What it’s like when someone has to flee with nothing but fear in their mind and leave everything behind – including their dearest people.

The flight into the unknown began as early as 1933. The arrival in a foreign country was and often remained endless poverty and loneliness, the language barrier at first at every step in everyday life. The suspicion of the authorities remained, and the inscrutable back and forth of coincidences remained. More than 500,000 Germans took this path because of political or racial persecution. Many of them fell into the Nazis’ trap after all, because the land of exile was also occupied by the Nazis.

During Tage des Exils, these stories from then and now are told. Just one of many biographies from Turkey shows what it means when a journalist like Can Dündar has to flee with a suitcase, leaving behind his possessions, his dearest people. How crucial it is that he is taken in and protected in Germany instead of possibly being in prison for life.

Tage des Exils are a temporary exile museum, but at the same time a strong plea for a permanent exile museum. I am very pleased that they are taking place in Berlin for the first time this year.”

Herta Müller

Speech about Exile by Herta Müller

Rede zum Exil der Schirmherrin Herta Müller

Zur Rede zum Exil von Herta Müller.

The Key Visual by Khaled Barakeh

"Shattered Image of Oneself"
"Shattered Image of Oneself" © Khaled Barakeh

The key visual of Tage des Exils Berlin on the cover of the programme booklet is by Khaled Barakeh, a Syrian conceptual artist, cultural activist and creative mediator living in Berlin. He graduated in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus (2005), a Master of Fine Arts from the Odense Funen Art Academy (2010) and a master school at the Städelschule in Frankfurt a. M. (2013).

His work is based on reshaping moments of dissonance and manifest injustice in political and social structures. He achieves this by manipulating immediately recognisable objects and pre-existing images. As director of coculture e. V., he combines art, activism and community work and supports artists in exile.

His artwork “Shattered Image of Oneself” is part of “Design of Necessity”, a site-specific participatory art project, and an exhibition that took place at St. Mary’s Church in Copenhagen in 2022. The works in “Design of Necessity” show the creative, everyday practices that Syrians have developed with ordinary objects while living under siege in basements, shelters and meagre hiding places.

The work pictured mimics the technique of breaking mirrors into shards and attaching them to the inside of satellite dishes to heat food. The portraits created in the series show the destroyed image that the people of Syria have of themselves and their communities after years of political oppression, siege, starvation, forced disappearance and forced displacement.

Khaled Barakeh
Khaled Barakeh © Khaled Barakeh

Our partners

The radio station rbb Kultur and the news platform Amal, Berlin! will accompany Tage des Exils as media partners.

rbb Kultur Amal, Berlin!

Tage des Exils Berlin: The programme to download