The U.S. military has been present in Rhineland-Palatinate since the beginning of the 1950s.
Since then, the number of active duty military, civilians and their dependents has gone into the millions. At certain points in time, they have constituted up to five percent of the total state population. Currently about 55,000 individuals account for the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
Many have remained in the area after their assignments ended in the last decades. The Docu Center Ramstein, headed by director Michael Geib, curated the exhibit to be shown at the Stadtmuseum in Kaiserslautern. The exhibition Hängengeblieben / Stayed highlights those who decided to stay in the area.
Locating people of varying backgrounds and life experience was the aim of the project using individual interviews. The DCR attempts to find out about the individual ways of life of those who “got stuck” here. The interviews mainly focus on their reasons for leaving their homes, arriving and getting acclimated in Germany as well as their very personal feelings and impressions. Photographer Thomas Brenner uses these interviews to create very expressive portraits within their environments.
Fifteen extremely personal life stories in pictures and stories were created in the end. The spectrum of persons displayed ranges from a Vietnam veteran to a young German-American woman in the second generation, up to a castle-loving U.S. pensioner with Jamaican roots and an ex-military cop, who as a contemporary witness, offers tours of his former working place for visitors.
The selected biographies do not claim to paint a full story, but rather showcase different life stories and would like to draw attention to a scarcely observed chapter of German-American postwar history.
The Stadtmuseum Kaiserslautern – Theodor-Zink-Museum / Wadgasserhof, is host of the exhibition with 15 high-gloss photographs and biographies in German and English. The exhibition is from Feb. 5 to Apr. 10, Wed-Fri from 10 a.m.-5. p.m, Sat and Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m., admission € 5.00 adults/€ 2.50 children.
For more information, visit http://stadtmuseum-kl.de.