Memorial Sites

Many of the former concentration camps and work camps where people were imprisoned, tortured and murdered for ethnic, religious or political reasons during the Nazi era have been established as memorial sites today.

Part of our summer camp programme involves engaging in projects to help preserve and develop these historical sites, in particular the smaller, lesser known ones. Maintenance tasks include technical work and renovating, painting doors, weeding and creating memorial paths.

Another important area of work is the archival and historical research that is conducted to document individual experiences in the camps and develop prisoner biographies. This provides volunteers with an opportunity to work with original sources and historical artefacts and helps them to learn about the history of the memorial site. Summer camp participants can also become involved in translating brochures and catalogues into an easy-to-understand language for people with learning disabilities.

The work is accompanied by workshops and excursions related to the areas that participants focus on in their work. This allows the participants to not only look into the history of their own country, but to also have the chance to discuss issues such as right-wing extremism, exclusion, racism and coming to terms with history in an international context with other participants. These discussions are supported by excursions to other memorial sites, concentration camps and religious places. Most volunteers highly value the experience of meeting a survivor. The personal recollections about life in the camp make the site and its history more comprehensible to the participants.

Practical work:

  • 'easy language' project > paraphrasing flyers into an easy-to-understand language for people with learning difficulties
  • working in archives, conducting research, developing biographies of prisoners/forced labourers, documentation work, restoration work (original artefacts, writings, photographs)
  • renovation and gardening work
  • creating memorial paths

Historical work:

  • meeting survivors
  • historical confrontation with the place/memorial site/Jewish life
  • workshops about the Holocaust, exclusion, racism, right-wing extremism and homophobia; and excursions (for example to churches, synagogues, mosques or former concentration camps)