New Museum Chronicles Postwar Germany, More Nazi Era `Something That Cannot Be Escaped'

Article excerpt

Hermann Goering's train car is already in place. Soon to arrive will be clothes worn by Nazi death camp inmates and the fuselage of a U.S. cargo plane that helped break the Berlin Blockade.

The new government museum, Germany's House of History, chronicles postwar Germany. But the museum will include Third Reich exhibits to offset any complaints that the Nazi years are being ignored.

The museum doesn't open until the spring, but foreign journalists were given a preview recently of the spacious, modern structure with a glass roof.

When Chancellor Helmut Kohl first proposed a history museum in 1982, some feared that the government would give too much attention to postwar achievements such as West Germany's "economic miracle" and too little to the Nazi era.

But director Hermann Schaefer said the $69 million museum would look the other way from neither the Third Reich nor today's neo-Nazi movement. "This (Nazi) era reaches into current times. It's something that cannot be escaped."

Exhibits portraying the rebirth of right-wing extremism after Germany's reunification are among those on the drawing board. …