An exhibition by the Herder Institute in Marburg, which has been developed during the work on the inventory catalogue for a collection of aerial views of Brandenburg, Pomerania, East Prussia and Silesia taken by the German Luftwaffe between 1942 and 1945.
The exhibition is based on a compilation of 6,300 vertical aerial photographs of eastern Central Europe that recently has been comprehensively documented. The holding originally formed part of a larger collection of aerial views for German regional studies that had been compiled by the former ‘Reichsamt für Landesaufnahme’ (Reich Office for Land Survey) in 1942 and was passed on to the Herder Institute after 1970. In today's Europe, which is constantly growing closer together, this collection has gained particular value as a resource for historical and cultural research as well as local municipal tasks.
The regional focus of the exhibition is on the cultural landscapes on both sides of the Oder river. The depicted towns, for example, Słubice/Frankfurt(Oder)-Dammvorstadt, Kostrzyn/Küstrin, Szczecin/Stettin, Wrocław/Breslau, Głogów/Glogau, and Opole/Oppeln, prove the significance of the exhibited material as historical and topographical basis for studies on the history of urban development, infrastructure and industrial sites in the present day Euro-regions along the Oder.
Alongside town and cadastral maps, it is primarily the vertical aerial photographs that show, for example, how the old towns were originally laid out and then expanded. The contrasting oblique aerial views give a sense of spatial relationships; these images provide insight into the main features and structures of the urban environment, which can only be understood in a wider context, and can be seen particularly well from a bird’s eye view.
The aerial photographs in the exhibition are in many cases the last records of these historical urban landscapes while they were still intact, and they are therefore a valuable source of information and an important memorial. These documents are a testament to the cultural and historical significance of the Oder region and also communicate a vision of its chances for future cultural, social and urban development.
With the touring exhibition, the Herder Institute wishes to draw the attention of academics and academic institutions, both nationally and internationally, to its collections and to inspire engagement with the subject matter. The complete collection of aerial photographs of eastern Central Europe is displayed in a richly illustrated catalogue.