Learning On-site and Online about Nazi and Stalinist Internment and Concentration Camps
The project offers capacity-building opportunities to explore the special significance of internment and concentration camps in the memory of Nazism and Stalinism, and its outcomes equip educators with adequate tools to raise awareness on the multi-faceted dimension of 20th-century European memory among youngsters. Through the digital exploitation of physical items detained by memorial sites and museums for educational purposes, the project increases access to the history of these places on the cross-border level. The project activities enabled a sustained collaboration between classroom educators, educational staff from memorial sites and museums, and researchers.
The project focused on the development of online educational modules and the training of practitioners to use them as tools to foster critical thinking, digital literacy and responsible civic attitudes among young people. An online module on internment and concentration camps was developed to feature on the Historiana website, comprising source galleries, learning activities and other tools to be used in the history classroom. This module was developed by a team of 10 people representing the project partners and 6 EUROCLIO member associations (see contributors).
- To offer history, heritage and citizenship educators from various countries in Europe the opportunity to participate in transnational learning mobility and discover key places for European remembrance, and to develop a sense of European identity, based on common values, history and cultural diversity.
- To create a module on Internment without Trial that contains transnational, balanced source collections and learning resources on systems of repression, with a specific focus on the Nazi and Stalinist systems, in particular in Buchenwald and Lamsdorf/Łambinowice.
- To address the topic of internment and concentration camps in the 20th century in Europe in a thought-provoking and innovative way that is learner-centered and aims to engage young people and make the learning accessible, meaningful and engaging and the project equipped over 50 educators with the tools and built their capacities to use them in their teaching.
- To foster and contribute to debate and reflection on the diversity and divergences in addressing European memory.
- To contribute to develop understanding that historical narratives are multi layered and interpretations, based on qualified evidence, and acceptance that people and events must be appraised in the context of their values and time.
During the project the management team coordinated:
- 3 development workshops, consecutively at the Buchenwald Memorial Foundation (Germany), the Central Museum of Prisoners-of-War of Łambinowice (Poland) and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). During these development workshops, the project team worked on learning activities and source collection that can be used to teach about Europe’s totalitarian past by focusing on the deprivation of freedom through the internment and concentration of all whole groups of populations in places specially designed for this purpose.
- A final training seminar in Tallinn (Estonia), which welcomed 45 participants including the project team.
- Pilot- and presentation sessions in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Podgorica, which were organised by the national history teachers associations as well as workshops and promotional meetings at history and heritage education conferences in Poland and Italy, and at the 2015 EUROCLIO Annual Conference in Helsingor, Denmark.
- Over 110 history educators are trained to implement the materials into school. Altogether … history professionals, civil servants, and experts contributed to and benefited from the project.
- An online ‘Internment without Trial’ unit on Historiana, which includes a variety of ready-to-use learning activities and source collection that can be used to teach about Europe’s totalitarian past.
The Multi-faceted Memory project has had a positive impact on the target group (history, heritage and citizenship educators) on various levels, with different levels of intensity.
As a result of the project, educators can now access a variety of ready-to-use learning activities and source collection that can be used to teach about Europe’s totalitarian past by focusing on the deprivation of freedom through the internment and concentration of all whole groups of populations in places specially designed for this purpose.
The learning activities help educators to teach about the violent past in an engaging, meaningful and responsible way. This is done, for example in the learning activity mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion under the Nazi Regimes: The focus on the role of ordinary people makes it easier to understand what happened, and to find commonalities with contemporary issues.
The source collections provide access to hundreds of sources that are specifically selected for their usefulness to teach about internment as means of repression. The sources are presented with a clear rationale and in a set so that they allow for meaningful comparisons. For example, the collection on experiences highlights the different experiences of the people involved (including the guards, prisoners, villagers); and the collection on the bigger picture shows both that internment without a fair trial has happened in a variety of contexts and highlights the differences between them raising awareness that not all camps were the same (for example in terms of treatment of prisoners and justification for the internments).
Having access to such a wide variety of sources providing multiple perspective helps educators to teach in a truly multiperspective way (which although widely accepted remains difficult because of language barriers and the time required to find multiperspective source materials.
The core group of 8 educators from Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and United Kingdom has benefited most from their participation in the project. They became more competent in the development of their own teaching resources and actively engaged in a series of onsite learning and peer-review sessions. For several of them, the involvement in the project let to new follow up projects. For example, Daniel Gaede (educator at Buchenwald Memorial) became involved in an exchange project on European Remembrance with the National Committee for 4 and 5 May (the organisation in the Netherlands responsible for the national commemoration of Remembrance Day and the national celebration of the Liberation). All core group members improved their skills to develop innovative and ready to use educational resources, gave active workshops and gained knowledge about totalitarian regimes.
In terms of the development of sustainable cooperation network, the project has had a positive impact on the target group as well. For example, the workshop in Amsterdam led to a renewed cooperation between educators from EUROCLIO and the Anne Frank House and Yad Vashem. The direct involvement of educators from EUROCLIO member associations (from Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Ukraine) in the development process means that the professional contents that have been intensified during the project can be sustained afterwards (as educators can stay in regular communication through the network). Many relevant organisations have been directly involved in the project meetings (See C.3 Visibility and follow-up of the project) and the sessions were organized in such a way that professional networking was encouraged.
The project resulted in the production of the Historiana Module "Internment without Trial".
Denis Detling (Croatian History Teachers' Association)
Danute Dura (History Teachers' Association of Latvia)
Daniel Gaede (Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und Mittelbau-Dora, Germany)
Magdalena Kruk-Kuchcińska & Anna Wickiewicz (Central Prisoner of War Museum of Łambinowice-Opole, Poland)
Meelis Maripuu (Estonian Institute of Historical Memory)
Nataliya Markus (Nova Doba, All-Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History and Social Studies)
Mare Oja (Estonian Association of History Teachers)
Chris Rowe (Historiana Editor, United Kingdom)
Hanna Toikkanen (Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies in Finland)