The museum is a unique bilateral institution, sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation. It is the only museum in Germany with a permanent exhibition recalling the war of annihilation in Eastern Europe. From 1945 to 1949 the former officers’ mess of the German Armed Forces’ Pioneer School, where the surrender took place, served as the seat of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany. After being used for various purposes by the Soviet military, a Soviet surrender museum opened in 1967. After the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Germany in 1994, both sides decided to use this location to commemorate the war conducted against the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945. Never before did a war cause more deaths and more destruction. This is especially true for the war of conquest and annihilation waged by the German Reich against the Soviet Union starting on 22 June 1941. The permanent exhibition documents this war from the perspective of both parties, German and Soviet. The territory occupied by the German forces was where the murder of European Jews began. But German warfare and occupation rule were also responsible for other crimes, like the mass death of Soviet prisoners of war in German custody and the planned starvation of millions of civilians in Russia and Eastern Europe. The exhibition also explores the consequences of the Second World War as they continue to the present day.