11.09.-17.09.2016, IYMC Oświęcim/Auschwitz
IYMC Oświęcim/Auschwitz, Action Reconciliation Service for Peace in Berlin, Akciya Spokuti zarady myru in Kiev
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Ways to remember - Memories of Auschwitz and the Holocaust

The German-Polish-Ukrainian seminar "Memories of Auschwitz and the Holocaust", organized jointly by IYMC Oświęcim/Auschwitz, Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste/Action Reconciliation Service for Peace in Berlin and Akciya Spokuti zarady myru in Kiev, took place for the third time in the International Youth Meeting Center.

The seminar topics were: the history of Auschwitz, the German occupation in Poland and Ukraine and the fate of the Polish and Ukrainian Jews. In addition, the participants dealt with the role of Auschwitz as the symbol of national socialist crimes, as well as the memory culture related to Auschwitz and the Holocaust in the three countries. The young people tried to find answers to the following questions: Why do we remember the same historical events differently? What are the factors of collective memory? Can we contribute to reconciliation by learning about the history of the other countries?

At first the participants made themselves familiar with the history of the national socialism and the system of concentration camps in a workshop and then took part in the study tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial. In order to get to know the national memories of Auschwitz, the participants visited the national exhibitions on the site of the former main camp - the exhibition on the destruction of the Sinti and Roma, the Russian, Polish and Hungarian exhibitions - and discussed the national narratives presented in the exhibitions. In addition, they also got a lecture by the museum expert Mirosław Obstarczyk, entitled “The Symbolism and Meaning of KL Auschwitz for various national groups”.

The highlight of the meeting was the participants' presentations on the role of Auschwitz and the Holocaust in collective memory in the three countries. In the national groups, they presented the different forms of commemoration, such as: museums, symbols, memorials, monuments and historical photographs, to discuss them in the group, exchange opinions and experiences. We hope that the meeting helped to understand each other.

The seminar was funded by the German-Polish Youth Office (GPYO) as part of the grant program “Ways to remember”.

Coordination of the seminar: Judith Hoehne-Krawczyk / IYMC Oświęcim/Auschwitz, Michał Wawrzyński / Bydgoszcz

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