The history of immigrant societies is diverse and in the course of time the 'ethnicity' frequently loses significance. Immigrants enrich and change the public discourse about rememberance and redefine the limits of 'German History'. The diversity of history within immigrant societies is reflected in ARSP's projects and educational programmes.
Volunteers with migrant backgrounds have made their choices to work with Action Reconciliation Service for Peace because they are German citizens and they feel that the German past is part of their present, as much as the collective past of their parents or grandparents. At the same time, volunteers with migrant backgrounds enrich our activities by providing new perspectives, because their own ancestors may have no biographical references to the National Socialist past.
We also have experiences of migrants with civil war backgrounds, for instance, they frequently feel that their present lives are strongly connected with the history of their home countries. Many of these lives are severely affected by war trauma. There are also major problems because the German mainstream society refuses to acknowledge that people with a migrant background are 'Germans' and deny them the right to participate in public debate.
We have realised educational programs on National Socialism with mothers from socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods for many years. It comes as a surprise to many that these seminars actually were started and promoted by the women themselves.
We believe that relationships are central to this work, because relationships between human beings have always been influenced by (national) history. We have experienced the historical impact on migration societies, for example, in the relationships between people with Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian or Greek origins that are frequently burdened with conflics. In our historical-intercultural meeting programmes, members of various minorities discuss and reflect on their individual and common experiences in Germany.
Our historical-intercultural educational programs focus on dialogical learning processes that promote discussion between people with different backgrounds and ideas. The participants gain new experiences on topics such as their different migration biographies, their lives within migrant societies, and the multi-perspective on public debate.