Benno Wundshammer and the first "Gastarbeiter" in the Volkswagen city (1962)

The Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg together with the Institute for Contemporary History and City Presentation and the cooperation partners bpk-Bildagentur and the Italian Consular Agency Wolfsburg is showing an exhibition of photographs by the press photographer Benno Wundshammer (1913 - 1986).

The presentation deals with a report on the first Italian workers in Wolfsburg, which the press photographer Benno Wundshammer produced in 1962 in the Volkswagen city. The title was "Do we really need those Italians?" The reportage is accompanied by a multitude of meaningful photographs that illustrate the idiosyncratic diction of the text and are at the centre of the exhibition. Photography and text take us back to the beginnings of the history of the Italians in Wolfsburg, which continues to this day and has become an integral part of today's cityscape.

With the friendly support of the Lüneburgischer Landschaftsverband.

As an accompanying publication to the exhibition, the following issue is published:

Issue #015 of "Das Archiv. Zeitung für Wolfsburger Stadtgeschichte" with texts by Dora Balistreri, Sebastian Kindler, Alexander Kraus, Katia Cutrone and Violetta Rudolf.


  • 29. August 2019 13.00 cet
    Pressetermin Ablauf

    Susanne Pfleger, Direktorin der Städtischen Galerie Wolfsburg

    Anita Placenti-Grau, Leiterin Institut für Zeitgeschichte und Stadtpräsentation (IZS)


    Alexander Kraus, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Zeitgeschichte und Stadtpräsentation (IZS)

    Grußwort: Dora Balistreri, Italienische Konsularagentur Wolfsburg

    Grußwort: Dennis Weilmann, Kulturdezernent der Stadt Wolfsburg

  • 31. August 2019 18.00 cet


    Susanne Pfleger, Director of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg

    Alexander Kraus, Research associate at the Institute of Contemporary History and City Presentation

  • 03. September 2019 18.00 cet
    Curatorial tour

    The curator of the exhibition, Alexander Kraus (IZS), and the director of the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Susanne Pfleger, will present some selected works in a dialogical tour and look forward to an exchange with the public.

  • 10. September 2019 18.00 cet
    Lecture and discussion

    Jan Plamper: „Das neue Wir. Warum Migration dazugehört: Eine andere Geschichte der Deutschen“ Moderation of the discussion: Alexander Kraus (IZS)

    Jan Plamper's current research is mainly concerned with the history of emotions and the senses and the history of migration. If asked for a regional self-definition, Prof Plamper would say he is a Europeanist focusing on Russia. Chronologically, Prof. Plamper is most interested in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prof. Plamper went to school in Germany and the US, obtained his degrees in the US (B.A. Brandeis University, 1992; Ph.D. UC Berkeley, 2001), lived in Russia for a total of four years, taught at the University of Tübingen for six years, and held fellowships at Historisches Kolleg Munich (2007-2008), Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin (2014-2015), Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena (2016), and Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald (2018-2019).

    Since 2012 he is professor of history at Goldsmiths, University of London.

  • 13. September 2019 10.00 cet
    Aperitif in the exhibition

    Opening hours with aperitif for the guests of the concert of the Italian Consular Agency Wolfsburg in the Gartensaal.

  • 01. October 2019 18.00 cet
    Talk in the exhibition

    „Fotografie im Dialog: Reportagefotografie zwischen Kunst und Geschichte.“ Andreas Beitin (Director Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg) in conversation with Alexander Kraus (IZS)

  • 04. October 2019 18.00 cet
    Aperitif in the exhibition

    Opening hours with aperitif for the guests of the concert of the Italian Consular Agency Wolfsburg in the Gartensaal.

  • 08. October 2019 18.00 cet
    Talk in the exhibition

    „Fotografie im Dialog: Fotojournalismus als Spiegel der sozialen Wirklichkeit?“ Barbara Hofmann-Johnson (Director Museum für Photographie Braunschweig) in conversation with Alexander Kraus (IZS)

  • 15. October 2019 18.00 cet

    „Das Bild des Italieners."

    with Daniela Cavallo (Deputy Chairwoman of the Works Council at the Volkswagen AG), Hans Karweik (Journalist), Marlies Ottimofiore (former employee of the Italian Consular Agency), Eleonora Marrone (Managing Director of Vini D'Italia), Rocco Artale (one of the first "Gastarbeiter" in Wolfsburg, former trade union secretary and city councillor, co-founder of the Wolfsburg Foreigners Advisory Council and honorary citizen of the city of Wolfsburg).

    Moderation of the discussion: Dora Balistreri (Italienische Konsularagentur Wolfsburg) und Alexander Kraus (IZS)

  • 22. October 2019 18.00 cet

    Michael Siems: „Arbeiten, wohnen, mitbestimmen – Wandel migrantischen Lebens in Wolfsburg zwischen den 1960er und 1970er Jahren.“ Moderation of the discussion: Alexander Kraus (IZS)

    Within just a few decades, Wolfsburg, which is still comparatively young, grew into a major city and an important industrial location. This development was not least shaped by tens of thousands of migrants who came to the city between 1962 and 1973 as "Gastarbeiter" or as their relatives. They came mainly from the Mediterranean region, most of them from Italy. The oil crisis and the associated recruitment freeze in the winter of 1973 can certainly be seen as a turning point in the city's migration history, but not as a total rupture. Remigration, pendulum migration and settling down refer to heterogeneous interests and life plans, and also with regard to their material interests, educational ambitions and the desire for political participation, a complex picture of migrants emerges. The aim of the lecture is to show the fundamental development trends of the 1960s and 1970s without losing sight of the diversity and contradictions. The main topics are participation in the labour market, changing housing conditions and the pursuit of co-determination in local and corporate policy.

    Michael Siems works as a freelancer for the IZS on a history of the Integration Department of the City of Wolfsburg. He studied history at WWU Münster and wrote his master's thesis on dealing with the Nazi past in Wolfsburg.

  • 29. October 2019 18.00 cet
    Interactive image viewing

    „Sei foto, sei punti di vista“. In five to ten minutes each, Italians analyze and discuss a photograph from the exhibition.

    With Silvestro Gurrieri (Chairman of the Board of the Kunstverein creARTE e. V. ), Paola Massei (Artist and employee at Volkswagen AG), Quinto Provenziani (Artist), Fabio Schillaci (Staff unit for special planning and project management of the City of Wolfsburg), Anke-Catrin Paulsen (Managing Director of the Verein Freunde und Förderer der italienischen Kultur in Wolfsburg e. V.), Anita Placenti-Grau (Director of the IZS).

    Moderation of the discussion: Dora Balistreri (Italian Consular Agency Wolfsburg) and Alexander Kraus (IZS)


Detailed information on the exhibition is available in the Press Area on this page. If you have questions about this exhibition, we are happy to assist you further.
Telephone +49.5361.281017


Download media information package.
– Document: DOC, 747kb

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us: Phone +49.5361.281017

Press images: