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Germany’s Military History Museum reopens in Dresden

At the beginning of 2011, the New York Times made a list of twenty places not to be missed during the year. Among them, there was Dresden, for the lively architectural and cultural activity that is pervading the city in recent years, but especially for the reopening of Mhm, Militärhistorisches Museums, which is considered the third most important museum complex on national history after the House of history in Bonn (Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and the German Historical Museum in Berlin (Deutsches Historical Museum.)

On October 15th, the German Military History Museum has reopened in Dresden, within the late classical former arsenal of the military citadel Albertstadt, renovated by architect Daniel Libeskind.

More than 9,000 items are on display in the new building that looks like a sharp black wedge made of steel and concrete, which cuts a “V” bisecting shape in the old neoclassical building. The shape recalls that of the area destroyed during the Allied bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945, which caused more than 25,000 victims and the destruction of works of art and monuments.

The museum is meant to be a witness against a nationalist revisionism that would remove the insight about Germany’s responsibility for the outbreak of World War II. This is also the reason why the floor is made of rubble remains of the Polish city of Wielun, which it was bombed and invaded by the Nazis in September 1939.

The history of the German army is traced in the museum halls through a journey in different historical periods, without emphasizing just military techniques and technologies, as also human aspects are highlighted.

Therefore, alongside the several memorabilia, there are also artifacts of daily life, such as the legendary Marlene Dietrich in uniform, an original suit wore by the former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, shards of shrapnel that wounded a German soldier in Afghanistan, 30 pairs of shoes from Majdanek’s concentration camp, the Bible that a priest read aloud while the German troops looted the village of Kommeno, in Greece.

So, the museum is not an exaltation of the art of war, but rather an insights into the meaning of violence, war and pain.

The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr is located on Olbrichtplatz, Dresden. It’s open Thursday to Tuesday from 10.00am to 6.00pm, until 9.00pm on Mondays, and is closed on Wednesdays.

Photo by Bundeswehr-Fotos Wir.Dienen.Deutschland.

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