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British in Westfalen

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Date added: 11 Jul 2018

The following message is from Dr. Bettina Blum. The exhibition is planned to tour throughout the state. Any contributions will be gratefully received. Contributions that are being loaned must be accompanied by contact details so that Bettina can ensure that the items are returned. Bettina's contact details can be found on the website or contact me and I will pass it on to you.

Research on the History of the British in Germany

Dr. Bettina Blum

The Project
I am a historian and from 2015 to 2017 I was responsible for the research and exhibition project “The British in Westphalia”. The exhibition took place in Paderborn from 20 October 2017 until 28 February 2018; a smaller version of the exhibition is now travelling through Westphalia. Almost 200 people – Britons and Germans – took part in the project and contributed memories, knowledge, photos and objects.
You can find more information on the Paderborn exhibition on the homepage www.briten-in-westfalen.de (it is in English and German, but sometimes you have to scroll down to find the English text).
As the exhibition attracted much interest, I decided to do more research on this topic and now I am planning new projects. There will be an exhibition on the British in North-Rhine Westphalia next year which includes the Rhineland and I hope to be able to do a project on the whole British zone as well. The aim is to make the visitors aware of the long and shared Anglo-German history, to appreciate the British presence in Germany and the diverse Anglo-German relations and to focus on future relations.
In my research I don't concentrate on military history nor on political history (although both aspects are part of the story), but on the history and experiences of people – of soldiers and officers as well as of wives and children and of course of their German neighbours, colleagues and friends. I focus on personal experiences of Britons and Germans, on daily life in the barracks and married quarters in Germany and on Anglo-German relations.

What I am looking for
I'm very much interested in personal memories and I would be happy to conduct interviews if possible or learn about personal experiences via email. I'm also looking for photos, documents, objects and memorabilia as a loan for the exhibition. We don't need to keep original photos or documents, but we would be thankful if we are allowed to scan them and then send them back.
- photos and memorabilia from the Rheinland, especially from JHQ
- objects, photos, magazines etc from British schools and clubs
- objects and photos from Anglo-German clubs, sport clubs, choirs, theatre groups...
- objects of daily military life (e.g. pace sticks, rules how to behave in an officers mess, rules or documents concerning parades or exercises, the mirror to look for bombs)
- anything about British Family life in Germany
- Maps (especially Facility Maps, maps of the British zone or smaller areas with garrison towns, maps from exercises etc)
- booklets for British families explaining the history and the facilities in Germany/the areas and towns they are posted to, the customs and local by-laws
- British newspapers/magazines from different German garrison towns
- documents relating to the evacuation of families in case of war
- anything concerning Soxmis and Brixmis

I would be very thankful for any help. And I'm very happy to answer any questions about the project or myself.

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