September 30, 2022 – March 05, 2023

Voices from Munich during the Cold War

    Opening hours Tuesday – Sunday 2 pm – 6 pm

    "Radio Free Europe. Voices from Munich during the Cold War“ tracks the eventful lives of five people who worked for the radio and provides an insight into what it was like to work for "Radio Free Europe" and "Radio Liberty". Its multifaceted accounts of the lives of these people both in front of the microphone and behind the scenes allow us to see the two radio stations from different perspectives, from their beginnings in the 1950s right through to the 1990s.

    During the Cold War, these stations broadcast news, culture, and sports programs in over 20 Eastern European languages from their headquarters in Munich. They were funded by the CIA until the 1970s to provide alternative information to the communist countries of Eastern Europe, which did not have free media.  Munich became regarded by some in the Soviet Union as the “capital of enemy emigration”. Jammers, targeted attacks and special agents were all employed in an endeavor to disrupt the two stations. In 1995, they moved to Prague, from where they still broadcast to 20 countries today, even as far as Afghanistan. Broadcasts to Russia have also lately increased in output.

    World War II led to hundreds of thousands of people ending up in Bavaria in 1945 through no will of their own. Many were from other European countries freed from concentration and labor camps, including some of the few Jews who had survived Nazi persecution and the Shoah. Munich also happened to be the closest American Zone city for Eastern Europeans fleeing their countries’ new Communist regimes. Some of these people, on their arrival in Munich, came into contact with Radio Free Europe by one means or another.

    This Einwand Gallery exhibition features video interviews with witnesses of those times whose lives were variously bound up with "Radio Free Europe". Photos and documents paint a picture of how they had initially found their way to Munich and what their work for the US security services during the Cold War entailed. Many worked behind the scenes, as editors, technicians, or Eastern European news analysts. Their knowledge of Eastern European countries and languages placed them in an ideal position to contribute to psychological warfare during the Cold War. Through working at the stations, they could build a new life for themselves in Munich. Key moments in the lives of former employees are captured by some fascinating graphic novels created in collaboration with students from the Hochschule für Kommunikation und Gestaltung (College of Communication and Design) in Ulm and show just how their lives in post-war Munich were shaped by a struggle for a sense of belonging, loyalty, love, and recognition.

    The history of immigration immediately after the end of World War II has hitherto received little attention from Germany’s city museums. Yet Jewish museums have examined this period in some depth from a Jewish perspective. Now, in the first initiative of its kind, the Münchner Stadtmuseum and Munich’s Jewish Museum have embarked on an exploration of post-war Munich in all its diversity through a project entitled “The Post-War Years and Migration in Munich”. A series of exhibitions will focus in on a variety of aspects of this wide-ranging theme. “Radio Free Europe. Voices from Munich during the Cold War” presents the project’s initial findings and selected items from its collection.

    In cooperation with the Jewish Museum Munich

    Sponsored by Kohlndorfer Stiftung, Institut für Stadtgeschichte und Erinnerungskultur

    Cooperation partners: Institut für Stadtgeschichte und Erinnerungskultur, Stadtarchiv München, Münchner Volkshochschule, Hochschule für Kommunikation und Gestaltung (Ulm)

    Plan Your Visit

    Opening hours

    Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm
    Closed on Mondays

    Every 2nd Wednesday of the month selected exhibitions at the Münchner Stadtmuseum are open until 8 pm

    Filmmuseum München  Screenings
    Tuesday – Thursday 7 pm
    Friday – Saturday 6 pm and 9 pm
    Sunday 5 pm

    Getting here

    S/U-Bahn station: Marienplatz
    U-Bahn station: Sendlinger Tor
    Bus 52/62 stop: St.-Jakobs-Platz


    St.-Jakobs-Platz 1
    80331 München
    Phone +49-(0)89-233-22370
    Fax +49-(0)89-233-25033
    E-Mail stadtmuseummuenchende
    E-Mail filmmuseummuenchende

    Ticket reservation Phone +49-(0)89-233-24150

    Stadtcafé Phone +49-(0)89-26 69 49