Radio Free Europe. Voices from Munich during the Cold War

Exhibition design and participation

»Radio Free Europe. Voices from Munich during the Cold War« is an exhibition shown in the Galerie Einwand of the Münchner Stadtmuseum and with a module in the foyer of the Jewish Museum Munich from 30/09/2022-05/03/2023.

Curated by Dr. Hannah Maischein (Münchner Stadtmuseum) and Jutta Fleckenstein (Jewish Museum Munich), it opens the view on the joint research and collection project  »The Post-War Period and Migration in Munich«, featuring displaced persons who ended up in Munich because of the Second World War.

The exhibition design by UnDesignUnit combines historical visual material, written documents and objects from the activities of »Radio Free Europe« and »Radio Liberty« in the post-war period in Munich with the personal memories of five contemporary witnesses who give insights into their lives as employees of the radio stations in video interviews. »Radio Free Europe« and »Radio Liberty« produced news, culture and sports programs in over 20 Eastern European languages in Munich during the Cold War. The radio stations were funded by the CIA until the 1970s to provide alternative information to the communist countries of Eastern Europe, which did not have free media.

Their different perspectives, from their beginnings in the 1950s right through to the 1990s, created by the diverse life stories, is emphasized by the modular table island design. The four table modules in the Galerie Einwand, which form the center of the exhibition, are painted in different shades of gray and beige. They structure the materials, each of which is assigned to a contemporary witness, and at the same time come together to form a kaleidoscope-like overall picture. Specially designed graphic novels capture key moments in their lives, showing how their lives in post-war Munich were shaped by a struggle for a sense of belonging, loyalty, love, and recognition. The graphic novels were created in the context of a student project at the University of Communication and Design Ulm under the direction of Prof. Sarah Dorkenwald.

The participatory format »My Voice from Munich« designed by UnDesignUnit invites visitors to contribute their views and memories of Munich during the Cold War.

The exhibition in the Galerie Einwand is complemented by a module in the foyer of the Jewish Museum Munich, which is dedicated to the fifth contemporary witness and combines further historical materials with an audio and film station as well as a graphic novel.

Graphic Novels: Fiona Bredebusch, Evelin Gielz, Sophia Kretschmann, Daniel Pechler, Jennifer Schaller, exhibition design assistance: David Kalwar

Photos: Verena Hägler, Julia Krüger, Sarah Dorkenwald