Against forgetting

An exhibition of photographs by Luigi Toscano
09.– 26.11.2017 (on 09th Nov. from 17:30/whole day)

A unique exhibition with larger-than-life portrait pictures! They will not be shown behind closed museum doors, but in a public space, around the church Sophienkirche Berlin, where people move around and meet throughout their everyday life. Nobody will be able to move untouched past the striking faces, presented on the huge portraits. The survivors are the faces and voices of the commemorative culture. They have the power to reach and to sensitize people, no matter of what age, background or education.
A small information screen, an app and a documentary complement the exhibition.

The first exhibition of “Gegen das Vergessen” – “Against forgetting”, will be opened on the 9th of November at 17:30 in the Sophienkirche, Große Hamburger Str. 29–30. Guests like the survivor Margot Friedlander, Berlin culture senator Dr. Klaus Lederer, the finance senator Dr. Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen and the DGB-Chairman Reiner Hoffmann are expected. A memorial service and a silent walk through the neighborhood, ending at a monument, which stands at the place where a Jewish retirement home used to be, which was misused for deportation, will follow the opening of the exhibition.

The Große Hamburger Straße used to be known as the Toleranzstraße (the tolerance street), due to the good relationship between the protestant, the catholic and the jewish facilities in the neighborhood. The Jewish community gifted a property to the protestant church Sophienkirche in 1714. This resembled gratitude for the acceptance of the local Jewish community, the positive relationship and a neighborly friendship. However, the Jewish retirement home was misused as a collection point for the purpose of deportation to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt during the time of Nazi Germany. Countless memorial sites and “Stolpersteine” remind us of the former variety of Jewish life. Since 1989/90, several Jewish facilities can be found surrounding the Sophienkirche again, such as the Jewish secondary school, which is not just used by Jewish students.

This is the fifth international station of “Gegen das Vergessen”. The exhibition is supposed to be shown for three months in the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, after the Sophienkirche and in Stuttgart after that. Parallel to that, the exhibition will be shown at the United Nations in New York for the Holocaust memorial day in January 2018. On top of that, the exhibitions has already traveled through the Ukraine for a year.
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Margot Friedlander, who is portrayed on the photo, was born in Berlin, on the 5th of November 1921. Emigration was not possible and Margot’s father, soon followed by her mother and brother, were killed in concentrations camps in 1942. Margot managed to hide for a couple of months with the help of 16 people. In spring 1944 her location was given away by so called “Greifern” and she was arrested and brought to Theresienstadt, where she met her future husband Adolf Friedlander. Both survived the holocaust, married and moved to the USA in 1946. In 2010. Margot Friedlander decided to move back into her hometown, after several earlier visits. She speaks about her experiences with young people on a regular basis, because: “Something like that mustn’t never happen again. As a survivor I see that as my duty.” She received the “Bundesverdienstkreuz” for her engagement in 2011.

The 45 year old photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano, experienced his surroundings from various perspectives, being the son of Italian guest workers. Today, the center-point of his artistic work is “the human”. Respect and humility lead him as a photographer – two old fashioned sounding virtues, which have accompanied him personally for a long time. Toscano has focused on sociopolitical themes since a couple of years, like in the photo exhibition “Heimat Asyl” in 2014, with portraits of refugees. Luigi Toscano is also busy as a filmmaker since 2006. His documentary “Gegen das Vergessen” will be released end of 2017.

The exhibition in Berlin would not have been possible without the support of various people and institutions. We would especially like to thank following institutions: DGB, GEW, ver.di, IGBCE, IG Metall, GASAG, Stiftung Erinnerung Verantwortung und Zukunft, Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, Evangelische Kirchengemeinde am Weinberg, Stiftung Denkmal, Haus der Wannseekonferenz.

The entry is free.

Volunteers of the Hauses der Wannseekonferenz, will offer free, 30 minute long guided tours in different languages between the 10th and the 26th of November 2017. Groups can sign up on

Große Hamburger Str. 29–30
10115 Berlin