Supporting former forced labourers is the focus of ARSP's work in the Ukraine. There are currently six volunteer projects in the country - two in Kiev, where the branch office has been located since 2003, two in Simferopol, one in Lviv und one more in Denepropetrovsk.
In Kiev the ARSP volunteers support older women and men who were transported to Germany as forced labourers, particularly through home visits. They also take part in political education projects, preparing school lessons on themes such as forced labour and national socialism.
In Simferopol the ARSP volunteers are involved in the "Nasz Dom" (Our House) project of the local "Association of Prisioners and Victims of National Socialism" and the Heidelbergzentrum. The aim of this project, establisehd in 2003, is the social, psychological and medical support of former forced labourers and other victims of national socialism. ARSP volunteers help practically through janitor duties in the Heidelbergzentrum and they visit former forced labourers at home, help them around the house and above all help them overcome social isolation. In Lviv und Dnepropetrovsk the volunteers work in the Jewish community and visit Shoah survivors in their homes.
Over a million Ukrainians were transported to Germany as forced labourers during the Nazi regime, and Jewish life in the Ukraine was almost completely extinguished - thus the memory of national socialism remains strong in Ukrainian society. At the same time, ARSP volunteers are constantly surprised to find that 'German qualities' such as punctuality are highly valued in the Ukraine and that they themselves are very warmly received.
Before ARSP volunteers began to work regularly for Ukrainian project partners, ARSP had already organised summer camps with local partners - for example in the village of Peremoga, which was completely destroyed by the SS, or in Drohobycz in Galicia, where summer camp participants renovated the homes of older members of the Jewish community. The summer camps thus made a statement for solidarity and recognition, as does the trilateral volunteer programme in Poland, which started in 2009.
Ukraine is part of ARSP’s international programme for volunteers from Germany.