In the organizer's words:

Why have "guest workers" come to Harburg and stayed here since the 1950s? How did they live and work? And to what extent were the "guest workers" of that time the trailblazers for today's migrant diversity in Harburg? The Temporary History Lab, which can be seen at the Kulturhaus Süderelbe from March 25, 2024, is dedicated to these questions.

People came from Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey to work here. From the 1950s onwards, they were recruited as so-called "guest workers". Some went back, others stayed here - and they all contributed to Germany's prosperity. "But we know far too little about them and their stories," says Nils Steffen, historian at the University of Hamburg and initiator of the project. Together with public history students, he set out in search of historical traces of the so-called "guest workers" - and found very little. Project partner Stephan Kaiser from Kulturhaus Süderelbe emphasizes: "Migration history is an important topic in the south of Hamburg, but one that has hardly been researched so far."

Almost 50 percent of Harburg residents have a history of migration. The "guest workers" of the past, their children and grandchildren have now become hosts in many cases. And many of them run doctors' surgeries, restaurants, hairdressing salons or tailor shops. They have become an everyday and irreplaceable part of Harburg.

The Temporary History Lab brings past and present together. Traces of history meet the voices of today. To this end, the history students have conducted interviews with entrepreneurs from the region. The project team invites visitors to discover, reflect and participate: They are looking for memories, historical documents and photos on the history of migration in the district since the 1950s.

"Von 'Gastarbeitern' und Wegbereitern" is a project by the Public History department at the University of Hamburg in collaboration with the Kulturhaus Süderelbe. It is supported by the Hamburg State Center for Political Education, the Harburg District Office, the Local Partnerships Harburg & Süderelbe and Unternehmer ohne Grenzen e. V. It was already hosted at Harburg Town Hall in 2023.

This content has been machine translated.


Kulturhaus Süderelbe Am Johannisland 2 21147 Hamburg


Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Hamburg

Get the Rausgegangen App!

Be always up-to-date with the latest events in Hamburg!