Museum shares Syrian family′s trek to Germany | Lifestyle | DW | 06.04.2016
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Museum shares Syrian family's trek to Germany

The German Emigration Center focuses on the fate of German migrants, but also tells the stories of refugees who found a new home in Germany. The most recent addition portrays a Syrian family.

The German Emigration Center museum has for years had a special wing dedicated to the life stories of 15 different groups of migrants to Germany. Now, a new story has been added - that of the Kotos, a Kurdish family of six from Syria.

The exhibition shows mementos as well as interviews with the refugees, who speak about their escape, the reasons they fled their native countries and their hopes for the future. The emigration museum shines a light on people's very personal and political reasons for fleeing to Germany.

It was time to add a current refugee story, says the museum's director Simone Eick. "For the first time, we're telling a contemporary story - and we don't know the outcome yet." The museum could hardly be more up-to-date.

Moving tales of new beginnings

Since opening in 2005, the award-winning German Emigration Center museum has let visitors experience the process of migration over the centuries, often with interactive exhibits: farewells and departures, the journey and arrival in a new, unknown world.

The museum traces the lives of migrants to Germany since the 17th century, focusing on exodus and passage, hopes and broken dreams, and the search for happiness and a secure future in freedom and peace.

The exhibition looks at the life of a migrant laborer in the 1970s, for instance, a time when Turks, Greeks and Italians fleeing unemployment and bleak prospects in their own countries were called "guest workers" in Germany.

The most recent addition to the exhibition, the Syrian family's refugee story, is unlikely to be the last that focuses on the history of Germany as a country of immigration.

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