Imagine, from one day to another you are banned from everything that is important to you…

…from 1933 onwards this was reality to hundreds of thousands of people in Berlin. They were not allowed to listen to the radio, to swing, to play instruments or football; they were forbidden from buying at the bakery, from sitting on park benches, even from walking their dogs because pets were prohibited. Sounds silly? But it’s the truth! And why? Only because they were Jews, Romani people, because they were gay or lesbian or religiously and politically differently minded - in short, because they were not Aryan or they opposed a system that was initiated and implemented in the most brutal way by the National Socialists.

However, this was only the beginning. All of you have heard about the horrible and outrageous consequences of National Socialism. All of you know about the persecution, expulsion and assassination of millions of people in Europe from history lessons, from discussions with your parents and grandparents and from movies and books.

The diversity in Berlin and Germany was already destroyed by this ‘system’, this violent uniformation process starting in 1933. Berlin was a vibrant city in all aspects, the music scene, literature… there were more newspapers than nowadays; the sciences generated their most incredible inventions and the stars and celebrities in movies and on the stages of the city were popular and known even in faraway America. However, most of them did not satisfy the norms set by the National Socialists.

With these short clips you get an impression of the time back then.

Today, Berlin has regained this diversity. This includes not only a life among a colourful society characterized by a variety of cultures but also the opportunity and the freedom to choose what kind of thinking and living is best for us, what kind of music we listen to and what kind of art we like. Further, it includes respecting the choice and opinion of every other person. Preserving the diversity of one's opportunities and the acceptance of others is a daily task that starts with one’s individual attitude towards fellow men and the surrounding world.