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Preview: starting August 2020

Borderlines – Basel 1933–1945

May 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. On this occasion, Basel Historical Museum is to stage a special exhibition about Basel during the era of National Socialism.

The Nazi regime in Germany and the Second World War had a significant impact on life in Basel and the whole border region between 1933 and 1945. The exhibition will inquire into cross-border relationships and ask where the people of Basel, the Swiss authorities and local businesses and institutions stood in relation to National Socialism and the Nazi state.

Refugees and refugee policies, the political climate, economic ties, the challenges faced by Basel’s Jewish population, Switzerland’s cultural identity and everyday life during the war will be among the themes presented. The show will recount the fortunes of individuals as well as exploring borderline cases of all kinds, whether geographical, personal, legal or ethical, providing plenty of food for thought on how we handle the past.

The tie-in book in German to be published by the Christoph Merian Verlag will be aimed at a broad readership and will feature articles on specific themes as well as short texts affording readers a glimpse of life in Basel as it was during the era of National Socialism.

The exhibition is trilingual (German, French, English), provides full access to the disabled and is accessible via eGuide.

Card of the Hitler Youth Basel // between 1933 and 1945 // HMB, Inv. 2019.417.
SA-Uniform, so-called ‹Brownshirt› // between 1920 and 1945 // HMB, Inv. 2018.1028.
Diary No. 6 of Gertrud Staehelin-Kutter // between 1939 and 1945 // Staatsarchiv Basel-Stadt, Stadt, PA 182b B 1 (1) 6.
Light bulbs, candles and matchbox for wartime blackouts // between 1939 and 1945 // HMB, inv. 2009.616.1.–4. and HMB, inv. 1993.166.
Stacking chair made of aluminium, the so-called «Landi-Chair» // between 1940 and 1950 // HMB, inv. 1982.72./GM.
Handmade press for forging ration stamps // 1942 // Basel Police Museum, inv. 1083.
Meal card for the Jewish aid in Basel // Jewish Museum of Switzerland, JMS 934.

Special exhibition in the Barfüsserkirche

Opening times

Special exhibition CHF 5.–, plus admission


Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
Message: +41 61 205 86 02

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