Since the founding of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste in 1958 and the subsequent establishment of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace in the UK in 1961 many thousands of people have shown their commitment to peace, understanding and human rights, as well as their opposition to forgetting the past, racism, exclusion and discrimination - in order to secure a more humane future. ARSP originally worked with individuals and organisations from communities and countries that particularly suffered under the terror of the Nazi Regime.
We remain convinced that the consequences of National Socialism are continuing in various forms today: ARSP is therefore committed to improving conditions for vulnerable people from diverse backgrounds by means of concrete projects and intensive dialogue. This continuous examination and appraisal of the National Socialist past and its crimes forms the basis for all the action we take and provides ARSP with the motivation and duty to facilitate constructive debate and discussion, whilst working for a better understanding between generations, cultures, religions, and peoples.
This is emphasised by the continued implementation of the Peace Service Programme, which aims to consistently address the challenges posed by history and fight against contemporary forms of intolerance, hate and ignorance. Furthermore the commitment to raising awareness about the ways in which this violent history has an impact on the present, helps combat modern-day anti-Semitism, racism and the marginalisation of minorities, ensuring ARSP remains a relevant and influential organisation striving to create a more peaceful and just world.
These concepts and perspectives are also strongly conveyed through the name Action Reconciliation Service for Peace.
ARSP carries out its goals through concrete actions. This primarily involves the practical work of the volunteers who are active in various social and political projects in 13 countries. We believe that people become closer through working together, learning to know each other and themselves better and developing the capacity to empathize. This effects a positive change and through this process something new can be created.
The term "sign of atonement" stands for the symbolic acceptance of responsibility for the consequences of National Socialism. The Nazi crimes cannot be undone and not be made good again, but broken relationships can be restored through concrete actions and a process of reconciliation can be set in motion.
ARSP strives for a just and comprehensive peace. We are therefore involved in projects that work against discrimination of people due to their religion, political convictions, national or social origins, skin color, language, physical abilities, sexual orientation, age or sex.