History of the Museum

A group of students of Museums Studies at Berlin’s University of Applied Sciences came across the vacant premises of the former Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind by chance. In March 1999, they set up the exhibition “Blind Trust” in the rooms, which had remained in their original state. During their research on the site’s history they met Inge Deutschkron, a persecuted Jewish woman who worked in the Workshop for the Blind and was given help and support there. Many of the exhibition visitors expressed their hope that this unique authentic site would remain preserved on a permanent basis. The Society of Sponsors Blind Trust was founded for this purpose, with Inge Deutschkron as its chairwoman.

With the support of the then Minister of Culture and the Media, Dr. Michael Naumann, the site was affiliated to the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2001. In the subsequent year, the German Federal President Johannes Rau visited the Museum Otto Weidt’s Worskshop for the Blind. For many years, the then president had been working to support and raise the profile of Germans who had helped Jews selflessly, like Otto Weidt, and he called for the foundation of a central memorial site for “silent heroes”.

In 2004 the national government and the Berlin Lottery Foundation provided funding to purchase the building at Rosenthaler Straße 39. The objective was to preserve the Museum Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind in the long term and to set up a memorial site for “silent heroes”. The German Resistance Memorial Center Foundation was entrusted with these tasks, also taking over the operation of the Museum Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind in 2005. The new permanent exhibition in the Workshop for the Blind was opened in December 2006, followed by the Silent Heroes Memorial Center in October 2008.

The Horn family’s hiding place, 1999. Source: MBOW
The Horn family’s hiding place, 1999
Room in the Workshop for the Blind before the first exhibition was opened in 1999. Source: MBOW
Room in the Workshop for the Blind before the first exhibition was opened in 1999