Photograph ‘Freedom for Poland’
Photograph: 'Alexander Dubcek'
Exhibition for hire

Change in the East

Photographs by Harald Schmitt

The strike at Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, in 1980, peace church services in Dresden in 1982, demonstrations in Prague in 1989: Harald Schmitt was in the thick of the action with his camera when the communist system started to wobble and then finally collapsed in Eastern Europe and Communist East Germany. 

The photographer worked as a correspondent for the magazine “Stern” until 2011. From 1977 until 1982 he was accredited in Communist East Germany. As a photojournalist, Harald Schmitt pressed the shutter release at the crucial moment and captured images that became iconic.

“Change in the East” is an exhibition by Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in cooperation with Harald Schmitt. The first presentation was held at Haus der Geschichte Bonn from 28 June 2014 until 16 August 2015.

Museums and cultural institutions can host this photo exhibition in order to display it on their own premises. It will be made available well packed in compact transport crates at very favourable conditions. This page provides all the relevant information on conditions, how to go about it, and whom to contact.

Overview Exhibitions for hire

Exhibitions Director
Dr. Thorsten Smidt
Secretary to the Exhibitions Director
Ausonia Acri
The photographies are delivered n compact boxes and crates ready for transport
Find out about the current programme here and hire one of our exhibitions for your institution.
  • 47 photographs (b/w and colour) in 47 frames (white)
  • 13 frames measuring 60 x 90 cm (landscape)
  • 29 frames measuring 50 x 70 cm (1 portrait, 28 landscape)
  • 5 frames measuring 50 x 60 cm (landscape)


  • One stand for visitor book and information material
  • Introductory text on Dibond measuring 45 x 65 cm 44 short texts (16.4 x 5.4 cm) accompanying the exhibits and three long texts (16.4 x 7.9 cm) on Dibond
  • Approx. 40 m continuous wall space is required to hang the frames.
  • One transport crate sized 66 x 95 x 51 cm (H x W x D)
  • Two transport crates sized 56 x 75 x 61 cm (H x W x D)
  • One transport crate for the visitor stand sized 130 x 70 x 70 cm
  • Total weight of crates: approx. 300 kg
  • The transport crates are mounted on castors..
  • A loan period of at least eight weeks is usual.
  • The borrower shall insure the loaned items “from nail to nail” (insurance value: 9,730.00 Euros).
  • The borrower shall be responsible for organizing and paying for transportation of the loaned items to its exhibition venue and return transportation in consultation with Haus der Geschichte Foundation.
  • The borrower shall provide suitable exhibition space including the exhibition technology (gallery rails/partitions).
  • The borrower shall contribute to handling costs, the costs of the basic layout of communication media and covering licence rights by paying a one-off fee of 250 Euros.
  • The borrower shall conduct public relations work (see below).
  • The borrower shall provide 2-3 photos of the space or institution where the exhibition is to be held for possible announcements in Haus der Geschichte publications.
  • Entrance to the exhibition must be free.
  • The borrower shall compile exhibition documentation, which is to be given to Haus der Geschichte after the end of the exhibition. The documentation shall include:
    • 5-10 representative photos of the exhibition at the borrower’s venue with and without visitors
    • Information on visitor numbers
    • Press reviews
    • Visitor comments / copies of the visitor book

The borrower shall hold an opening event and send the lender specimen copies of the invitation to the exhibition opening in good time. The borrower shall conduct PR work and organize a supporting programme for the exhibition. Haus der Geschichte shall for its part provide a press release and press photos.

Poster and invitation
Haus der Geschichte shall provide the borrower with a fixed contingent of 50 posters and 300 invitations bearing the exhibition motif without any individualized imprint. The latter can be carried out at the borrower’s request and expense in consultation with Haus der Geschichte. Additional contingents of these materials can be purchased at cost price.

Opening event
A representative of Haus der Geschichte must be requested to open the exhibition. The borrower is obliged to cover the travel expenses and if necessary the cost of overnight accommodation.

Publication of the photos is only permitted in the context of reporting on the exhibition and together with the copyright notice.

Photography: Man with pushchair in front of police officers on Karl-Marx-Allee in East Berlin, 1978

Man with pushchair in front of police officers on Karl-Marx-Allee in East Berlin, 1978
© Harald Schmitt

300 dpi, jpg, zipped, 0.86 MB 

Photograph ‘Workers at the Gdansk Lenin Shipyard’

The workers celebrate the success of their strike at the Gdansk Lenin Shipyard in Poland and carry leader aloft Lech Walesa across the site.
© Harald Schmitt

300 dpi, jpg, zipped, 0.95 MB

Photograph ‘Peace workshop 1982’

Peace workshop 1982: Peace groups from all parts of Communist East Germany meet in East Berlin.
© Harald Schmitt

300 dpi, jpg, zipped, 1.26 MB 

Photograph ‘Freedom for Poland’

Peace groups in East Berlin show solidarity with Poland, which was under martial law, in 1982.
© Harald Schmitt

300 dpi, jpg, zipped, 0.98 MB

Photograph ‘Alexander Dubcek’

Alexander Dubcek and Vaclav Havel on the podium at the Civil Forum.
© Harald Schmitt

300 dpi, jpg, zipped, 0.75 MB

Photograph ‘Cardinal Tomasek in front of Prague Castle’

In November 1989, Cardinal Tomasek called on people in front of Prague Castle to oppose the communist regime.
© Harald Schmitt

300 dpi, jpg, zipped, 0.91 MB

Photograph ‘Fallen Stalin in Vilnius’

A fallen statue of Stalin in Vilnius in 1991 symbolizes Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union.
© Harald Schmitt

72 dpi, jpg, zipped, 0.96 MB

The photographs by the former “Stern” photographer Harald Schmitt document moments of resistance in Eastern Europe in the period from 1978 until 1991, from the first protests by workers on strike at the Gdansk Lenin Shipyard in Poland, to the first peace church services in Dresden to the overthrow of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Forging links between the photos from Communist East Germany and those from surrounding communist states makes it clear just how strongly developments in the Communist East Germany and in the East European countries were intertwined.

The photos of people and the various sites of upheaval tangibly express the major changes in the decade in question, changes that shaped Europe and the world.

After training as a photographer, Harald Schmitt worked among others at the “sven simon” agency in Bonn. From 1977-2011 he was a staff photographer at “Stern” magazine; from 1977-1983, he lived in Communist East Germany.

Harald Schmitt received the “World Press Award” for his photographs six times.

“Change in the East. Photographs by Harald Schmitt” is an exhibition by Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in cooperation with Harald Schmitt. The first presentation was held at Haus der Geschichte Bonn from 28 June 2014 until 16 August 2015.