Departure Neuaubing. European Histories of Forced Labor Digital History Project

Departure Neuaubing is a digital history project developed by the Munich Documentation Center as an interactive and interdisciplinary web app that tells the story of Nazi-era forced labor as a story with threads leading all over Europe.

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About the digital project

Departure Neuaubing is a digital exhibition project on the history of Nazi forced labor and its continuing impact today. Digital media can help us to overcome distances and highlight transnational and transhistorical references and connections. Nazi-era forced labor entailed the deportation of people from many different European countries. The Munich district of Neuaubing was a center of the Nazi arms industry. Here people from the Soviet Union, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and other countries were forced to work and were accommodated in one of the many Nazi forced labor camps.

This historical context forms the starting point of our digital history project and focuses on the web of connections across Europe that his story continues to have today. Departure Neuaubing looks at how the experience of forced labor has been treated in postwar Europe, at continuities of the Nazi regime of terror, and more generally at the significance of historical experiences for the present.

In cooperation with Mediale Pfade, the Studio Paintbucket Games, and the artists Sima Dehgani, Leon Kahane & Fabian Bechtle, Hadas Tapouchi, and Franz Wanner six very different projects were developed that address topics such as forced migration and exploitation, loss and memory, and historical narratives and continuities. Departure Neuaubing offers artistic, scientific, and playful approaches to this topic and looks at the history of forced labor with reference to the present. 

Departure Neuaubing can be accessed online and is also presented in the foyer of the Munich Documentation Center. The exhibition architecture was designed by the set designer Janina Sieber and invites visitors to linger and engage with the topic.


Link to the web app

Mobile Game Forced Abroad: Journal of a Forced Laborer
To the App Store
To the Google Playstore

Social media
#DepartureNeuaubing | @nsdoku

Departure Neuaubing was developed in the framework of dive in. A Program for Digital Interaction of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in the Program NEU-START KULTUR.

The web app was designed by Studio


Yevminka and Lost Time

Courtesy of the artist

Sima Dehgani

Many former forced laborers from Eastern Europe suppressed their memories for years. Photographic portraits convey how historical experiences can live on in objects as well as in physical environments and social surroundings.

Memory in Practice

Hadas Tapouchi, Excavation Site, 2021 | Courtesy the artst | Design:

Hadas Tapouchi

Barracks housing forced laborers were ubiquitous in Nazi-era Munich. Today they have disappeared almost without trace. A photographer set out to return them to the city’s collective memory.


Filmstill, 2021, Courtesy of the artists

Forum DCCA
Fabian Bechtle & Leon Kahane

A new development is under construction in western Munich that will house more than 25,000 people. A film documentary asks what significance will be attached to a historical site of Nazi forced labor in relation to the future of the city.

Mind the Memory Gap

Filmstill, 2022, Courtesy of the artist

Franz Wanner

Two sites of the Nazi arms industry are contrasted in film, images, and text. What is their approach to this past chapter today and what interests does it reflect?

Munich, Monaco, Malgolo — and back

Photo: Alessandra Schellnegger

Alex Rühle

Hundreds of thousands of Italian “military internees” were exploited as forced laborers by the Nazi regime. A reportage project searches for long-forgotten family memories.

Forced Abroad. Journal of a Forced Laborer

Still Visual Novel, 2022 | © Paintbucket Games | Illustration: Barbara Yelin

Paintbucket Games

In January 1945 a 19-year-old Dutchman was deported to Munich. An interactive visual novel tells his story based on the journal he kept during his time as a forced laborer.