Dokumentationszentrum Alltagskultur der DDR


Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday, national holidays

October to March
11.00 – 17.00

April to September
11.00 – 17.00

School classes by arrangement

If the national holiday is on a Monday, the museum is open. Closed on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year, even on Mondays.

The exhibitions are barrier-free. An elevator and a barrier-free toilet are available.


Documentation Centre of Everyday Culture of the GDR
Erich-Weinert-Allee 3
15890 Eisenhüttenstadt

Tel.: +49 (0)3364 – 41 73 55

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Adults: € 4
Concessions: € 2
Children aged under 7: free

Groups: (up to 20 people) € 40
School classes: € 1 per person
School project days: € 1 per pupil, plus € 15 for supervision

Group guided tours
(advance booking required):

Di – Fr: € 30 (school classes € 15)
Sat, Sun: € 50
Introduction: € 15 € (approx. 15 mins.)

Getting to the museum

Regional train:
– RE 1 every half hour from Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder)
– Hourly from Cottbus
Bus: Take any line from the station to the stop “Rathaus”

By car:
A 12 to junction Frankfurt (Oder)-Mitte/Eisenhüttenstadt
B 112 towards Eisenhüttenstadt
B 246 Beeskow – Eisenhüttenstadt
In Eisenhüttenstadt, follow the tourist signs to the museum



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Documentation Centre of Everyday Culture of the GDR is temporarily closed.


Temporary Exhibition


“The aim of my photography was rarely to capture a special, unrepeatable moment. Instead, the moment I sought again and again was when the special, exceptional and coincidental slips away from people and they reveal their nature, how they really are.”

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Hardly any other photographer has shed light on East Germans and their livelihoods as intensively and from as many perspectives as Roger Melis (1940–2009). For three decades, the co-founder and master of East German photo-realism travelled from Berlin throughout the GDR, a country under SED rule that he often perceived as “silent” and petrified. In atmospherically dense, often symbolic photographs, he documents the everyday life of people in urban and rural locations, their working and living conditions, as well as more or less voluntarily executed political rituals in a real socialist environment.

Vivid photographs of writers and visual artists made Melis renowned in the 1960s both in the East and West. Many of his portraits of authors, including Anna Seghers, Heiner Müller, Christa Wolf, Sarah Kirsch and Wolf Biermann, subsequently became prominent in newspapers, magazines, books, calendars, posters and record covers, helping to shape the “face” of East German culture. Today, they are regarded as classics of the genre.

Melis shows the same care in portraying people from almost all social fields: workers and managing directors, farmers and foresters, craftsmen and traders, children and teenagers, functionaries and dissidents.

Melis preferred to seek out people where they worked, showing everyone the same respect. His portraits of East Germans refrain from depicting types, nor do they attempt to expose anyone. Instead they approach people gently and are open to the diversity of their experiences.

The empathetic portraits are complemented by a wide range of self-commissioned reports and striking milieu studies that combine to paint a multifaceted picture of the GDR. The images reflect the pride and confidence of East Germans, while also revealing signs of skepticism and resignation, as well as defiance and growing courage, which ultimately led to the system’s collapse.

The exhibition was produced in cooperation with the Roger Melis Archive and curated by Mathias Bertram. Two accompanying books entitled In einem stillen Land and Die Ostdeutschen have been published by Lehmstedt Verlag.


Roger Melis (1940 – 2009)

Roger Melis, born in Berlin in 1940, grew up in the household of the poet Peter Huchel in West Berlin and then, from 1952, in Wilhelmshorst near Potsdam. In 1960, he completed his apprenticeship as a photographer and subsequently spent six months at sea as a cabin boy.

Between 1962 and 1968, he worked as a science photographer at the Charité in Berlin. From 1962 onwards, his first portraits of poets and artists were produced, from 1963 including reports. In 1968 he also began working on fashion photography. In 1968, Roger Melis became a member of the Association of Visual Artists and was licensed to work as a freelance photographer.

In 1969, he co-founded Fotogruppe Direkt with Arno Fischer, Sibylle Bergemann and others. In the following years, his work focused on portrait, report and fashion photography for Sibylle, Neue Berliner Illustrierte, Wochenpost, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, GEO and various publishers in the East and West.

Roger Melis was a co-initiator and, from 1981, Chairman of the Central Working Group Photography at the Association of Visual Artists.

After producing a joint report together with Erich Loest for the magazine GEO, Roger Melis was banned from working for the GDR press from 1983 to 1989, forcing him to turn increasingly to book and exhibition projects. From 1978 to 1990, he held a teaching position at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee. From 1993 to 2006, he taught Photography at the Lette Verein Berlin.

In 1970, Roger Melis married the fashion journalist Dorothea Bertram. He died in Berlin in the autumn of 2009.



Eisenhüttenstadt im Wandel, Fotomontage von Martin Maleschka, (c) Fotograf.
Eisenhüttenstadt im Wandel, Fotomontage von Martin Maleschka, (c) Fotograf.
Eisenhüttenstadt im Wandel, Fotomontage von Martin Maleschka, (c) Fotograf.

Bereits dieser Tage beginnt das 70-jährige Jubiläum der Stadt Eisenhüttenstadt. Die Feierlichkeiten werden im Corona-Jahr allerdings klein gehalten. Erwartungsvoll richtet sich der Blick also auf 2021. Unter dem Titel „Ohne Ende Anfang. Zur Transformation der Sozialistischen Stadt“ wird das Dokumentationszentrum im März 2021 nicht nur eine Ausstellung eröffnen, sondern den Startpunkt für ein umfassendes Projekt setzen: Fachübergreifend, mit vielen lokalen, aber auch überregionalen Partner*innen und vor allem mit den Eisenhüttenstädter*innen wird die Erkundung der Geschichte, der Gegenwart und der Zukunft Eisenhüttenstadts in Angriff genommen.

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Ausgangspunkt ist die Sonderausstellung „Ohne Ende Anfang“, welche die städtebauliche Transformation in Folge der Wiedervereinigung vielfältig thematisiert. Dafür rückt es seinen spezifischen Standort – das 1950 als „erste sozialistische Stadt“ erbaute Eisenhüttenstadt – sowie weitere ehemalige Zentren des urbanen und wirtschaftlichen Aufbaus wie Schwedt und das polnische Nowa Huta in den Blick.

Die Ausstellung wird sowohl die Idee und den Typus der sozialistischen Aufbaustädte vorstellen als auch die Transformationsjahre ab 1990 beleuchten. So etwa das Bemühen um neue wirtschaftliche Grundlagen, das Einsetzen des demographischen und sozialen Wandels sowie – als dessen sichtbarstes Symptom – die baulichen Veränderungen in den Stadträumen. Mit der Wiedervereinigung verloren viele der vormals bevorzugten monostrukturellen Industriestandorte ihre Funktionszuweisungen und Privilegien – und ihre damit verbunden Zukunftsvisionen.

Begleitet wird die Ausstellung von zahlreichen Veranstaltungen und museumspädagogischen Formaten, die auf die gegenwärtige Situation ausgerichtet sind und fragen, wie heute Zukunftsvisionen für Eisenhüttenstadt aussehen können.

Das Projekt wird gefördert durch die Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur und entsteht in Kooperation mit der Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee.



On Tour

Urlaubs- und Freizeitszenen am Springsee in Brandenburg, August 1952, privates Fotoalbum, Bestand Dokumentationszentrum Alltagskultur der DDR. Reproduktion: Armin Herrmann.



The Documentation Centre proudly supports the Exhibition “Cold Revolutions“ in the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw planned for


Mai.- 19.September 2021


Cold Revolution. Central and Eastern European Societies in Times of Socialist Realism, 1948–1959 is the outcome of an international conference organized by the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, in January 2020, and an exhibition project (planned for May 25 – September 19, 2021). Both the conference and the show deal with Socialist Realism, a sensitive and problematic period in contemporary art history. The publication inquires about the relationship between the visual culture of the 1950s and the radical social revolution that took place in Central and Eastern Europe in the ‘cold’ climate of growing international tensions and the strengthening of communist dictatorships. Covering and linking together a wide range of areas of study—art history, but also social, political, and cultural history—thirty contributors explore deeply the 1950s’ social transformations, presenting intersectional essays on cultural and art history, short key study texts and profound analysis examples from the fields of painting, architecture and urban planning, design, photography, film and graphic design, representative of different countries, such as Poland, GDR, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.