20.000 kilometers under the Red Cross


He was a surgeon, she was an operating room nurse. The couple Dr. Walter and Elisabeth von Oettingen traveled to the war fronts on Red Cross hospital trains at the beginning of the 20th century and documented their journeys in a hospital on rails with their camera. This is how unusual photos were created, first against the backdrop of the now almost completely forgotten Russo-Japanese War of 1904/05, which, in addition to the medical work, show the landscape and the people in a distant and foreign country. The journey of the Baltic German medical troops on the Trans-Siberian Railway, everyday scenes from Siberia and Manchuria, the construction of the field hospital, and the transport and treatment of the wounded are captured in photographs of remarkable technical quality. In the 1970s he campaigned for a new medical history museum in Hilden, which now houses the war motifs. Family photos and travel photos can also be found in the collection, which is still housed in the archives of Heinrich Heine University today. The fragile glass plate photographs are a fascinating historical document and convey a multitude of details about the life and work of medical professionals at the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibition is complemented by written documents and memorabilia from the couple. Opening: Sunday, March 10, 2024, 11 a.m. in the Wilhelm Fabry Museum Supporting program: March 14, 19:30 p.m. Wilhelm Fabry Collection digital Presentation of a funding project with Rainer Hotz April 18, 19:30 p.m. Focused: The Photographs by Elisabeth and Walter von Oettingen Lecture by Michael Ebert June 6th, 19:30 p.m. “Under the Red Cross” by Elisabeth von Oettingen Reading with Anja Herbertz June 13th, 19:30 p.m. The history of the Russo-Japanese War and its Geopolitical classification Lecture by Prof. Wolfgang Schwentker August 22nd, 18 p.m. Curator tour of the exhibition with Michael Ebert and Sandra Abend

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Price information

Price adult: 3€
Reduced price: €1,50
Entry to the museum:
3 euros | reduced 1,50 euros

Participation fee for the supporting program:
5 euros | reduced 2,50 euros


Office for Culture and Tourism

Düsseldorfer Strasse 26
40822 Mettmann

0049 2104 99-0



Appointment overview

Tuesday, the 16.04.2024

15: 00 - 17: 00

Wednesday, the 17.04.2024

15: 00 - 17: 00

Thursday, the 18.04.2024

15: 00 - 20: 00


Wilhelm Fabry Museum

Benrather Straße 32a
40721 Hilden

0049 2103 590 3



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