The Calcutta 1940s project



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Welcome to the Calcutta 1940s Project.  We are the people who are behind this website the virtual museum of 1940s Calcutta.

We believe that the 1940s were the city’s most fascinating decade in the last century. 


Much of what is good or bad about the Kolkata of today, happened, were formed or, started out in the 1940s.  To understand Kolkata now, it is vital to know about this decade, to remember what happened, what it was like to be there and to understand what made people do what they did.


Another motivation of ours is that much of what has been preserved in Kolkata since the 1940, and will remind people of their lives in those days, will soon disappear.

Our city is currently going through a most eventful decade (the most eventful since the 1970s).  By the end of it, the way many Kolkatans live their lives will have changed forever and the way city looks might have altered almost beyond recognition.  By then all but a very few of the people who still remember the city in the eventful 1940s will also sadly have gone.


Please help us to preserve the memory of Calcutta’s most fascinating decade.



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Our Aim


Our aim is the capturing of as much as we can of 1940s life in Calcutta and making it accessible to everyone in the city of Kolkata today and beyond.


This we intend to do this by collecting oral history (personal reminiscences) both written or recorded of this fascinating city.  Apart from reminiscences, we are also looking for old maps, photos, diaries, postcards, letters, cinema tickets, theatre programmes, anything etc.


In addition to this unpublished material, we are always interested in published material on the era, like memoirs and autobiographies, historybooks, old guidebooks and directories, newspaper articles.


With these materials we are adding to this website which is intended to be a virtual museum of 1940s Calcutta.


We are also trying to give our interested visitors as many pointers as possible to do their own research. 


With 1940s Calcutta we mean Calcutta and larger surrounding area in the years 1939 to and including 1950.  In case of material relating to daily life we are also interested in all material from the 1930s to the 1950s.  We are also interested in the experience of Calcuttans had away from the city like life in a village before coming to town or in a school in the hills, studying in Shantiniketan or service in the army.



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Who are we


We are a German-Indian couple with a great interest in the history of Calcutta. 

Sushmita is from a Bengali family from Calcutta, and I am a German from near Hamburg.

We are both in our 30s and live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland.

We visit Kolkata once or twice every year for family visits and also use this time to collect material and make contacts for our project.


  Hauke Wiebe


 Sushmita Sengupta-Wiebe




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Our Address



Calcutta 1940s

c/o Hauke & Sushmita Wiebe

   2/1, Portland Terrace


   United Kingdom





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This page has last been updated on the 24-September-2004 by Hauke Wiebe.

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