International Exchange II, 12. – 18. November 2022, Berlin

What, already over? For one week we had a visit from our Greek friends from Agrio Rodo. Our project “Nature & Ideology” went into the next round. It started in Berlin with a joyful reunion and joint workshops on memorial education and a creative approach to memory work.

Together we visited the memorial sites of Ravensbrück and Belower Wald. The time in Ravensbrück was particularly intense. Here we spent the night in the old guards’ houses of the women’s concentration camp, where the Ravensbrück youth hostel is located today. A youth hostel in buildings that were once part of a site of the most inhumane atrocities, housing the very people who did these things to other people? A good use or macabre and tasteless? These were the questions that occupied us, along with the many other impressions and experiences we had gained from visiting the memorial.

From Ravensbrück we went to the Below Forest Death March Memorial. Here, from 23 to 29 April 1945, more than 16,000 prisoners of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp camped after they were driven on a death march by the SS to cover up their crimes due to the approaching defeat of Germany in the war. Hundreds died on the way or were shot by the SS. The prisoners left their traces in the forest. During a guided tour through the forest area, the memorial staff showed us the trees where messages or pictures had been carved in. Afterwards, quite frozen through, we were happy about the question and answer session in the warmth of the memorial site´s office with coffee, tea and biscuits.

After this extended memorial excursion, we drove back to Berlin and spent a nice last evening together with delicious Israeli food – already as a prelude to our next meeting in Israel.
The next day, we parted ways at the House of the Wannsee Conference. Fortunately, it won’t be for ever: We will all meet again next spring. We are already looking forward to it!