Loss and Restitution
50 Years of the Restoration of Cultural Artefacts from the Soviet Union to the Museum of European Cultures

30.09.2008 to 17.11.2008

Museum Europäischer Kulturen
Museum Europäischer Kulturen

In the foyer of the Museum of European Cultures, two Masurian wedding carpets from the late 18th century, Alpine quill-embroidered belts for men and magnificently crafted bibs from the early 19th century will all be on display. They are just some of the 372 objects that the Soviet Union returned to the then Ethnological Museum - now the Museum of European Cultures - back in 1958.

With this display, the Museum will be casting a look back at its own eventful past. First founded in 1889 by Rudolf Virchow as the Museum für deutsche Volkstrachten und Erzeugnisse des Hausgewerbes and absorbed into the association of Royal Prussian Mueums in 1904, by the end of the 1930s the museum's collection had grown immensely and was last placed on view to the public in the Prinzessinnenpalais on Unter den Linden. During the Second World War all artefacts were removed and placed in storage, with most of them being lost or destroyed. Feelings of elation, therefore, were understandably all the more great, when the Soviet Union returned many of the objects originally thought to be lost.