Who were the victims of the National Socialists?

The Basic Law for Federal Republic of Germany prohibits treating people differently on the basis of their gender, religious beliefs or physical conditions, among other things. Unfortunately, many citizens experience something quite different in practice. Every day, many citizens suffer from ableism, anti-gypsism, anti-Semitism, discrimination, LGBTIQ hostility, racism and xenophobia. This lack of justice and equality can undermine democratic values and systems, giving space for narratives of hate and discrimination to arise. In the past, different historical and political regimes were known for their repressive and discriminatory systems. The Nazi regime may be the most striking example in recent history and its consequences were felt across Europe beyond its borders.

By studying and researching the lessons about the National Socialist past and the visualisation of experiences of those affected by persecution, students may reinforce their democratic attitudes and counteract ableism, anti-Semitism, anti-gypsyism, racism and LGBTIQ phobia when they encounter it in their daily lives. With this project, young people from Europe are encouraged to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of discrimination in the present through researching the victims of National Socialists in the past.

Project Goal and Target Groups

Formed by an interdisciplinary cross-border team of history educators, specialists in the history of National Socialism, and museum educators in close cooperation with youth and community members, the project aims to deepen the knowledge on who were the victims of National Socialism. The main goal is to enable young people from all over Europe to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of discrimination in the present by researching the victims of National Socialists to reflect on contemporary issues by pursuing these specific objectives:

For students to acquire deep knowledge of all victims, including those who received less attention in the past, like Roma, Sinti and Travellers, people of colour, victims of euthanasia, people with functional and intellectual diversity, LGBTIQ, religious minorities, those considered as asocial and political dissenters and activists.

  • Use the knowledge acquired to reflect on contemporary issues and think about how to prevent historical injustices to continue in the present.
  • Work with representatives and members of these victimized communities on the design of the toolkit as experts, team members and council members. They will feature in the promotional video, lead, and participate in the focus groups, and engage in dialogue with the students.
  • Use the several outputs as part of EuroClio's and Max Mannheimer Study Center's educational programmes and memberships services, which allows for this to spread as an inspiring practice across Europe.

One of the objectives is to let students learn about history from a combination of non-traditional sources used in a classroom, like games, tv-series and books, and historical sources, selected by the teachers, as well as through place-based learning at museums, memory sites, archives, and NGO's. By using a pace-based learning methodology, students are given more choice and voice, so they can choose their prefered medium, decide which places to visit, and which sources to consult for more information.  

Expected Outcomes

Promotional video: The project aims to produce a promotional video with footage from students and educators who are directly involved in the project that explains the rationale for the project, demonstrates how the project works in practice and convinces educators to explore and use the toolkit.

This output involves a toolkit with step-by-step instruction on how to design the history project for students, support materials (such as the peer-to-peer tutorials) for each step, including preparation and assessment. The toolkit will be translated into the official languages of the countries where the student history projects take place. This includes a research report on the effectiveness of the project in terms of learning outcomes. By the end of the project, a toolkit based on the experience of youth-empowered history projects from six different countries, evidence of its effectiveness, and promotional materials to demonstrate the potential of the approach will be established.

Max Mannheimer Study Centre and EuroClio

The Max Mannheimer Study Center is an extra-school educational institution that aims to enable, first and foremost, young people from throughout the world to take a more in-depth look at contemporary history. The Max Mannheimer Study Center is running a variety of projects, including international youth exchanges, and offers educational programmes for schools, teachers in training, and NGO’s. The focus is placed on examining and discussing the National Socialist period in general, with special reference given to the history of the Dachau concentration camp.

EuroClio is a non-profit civil society organization established in 1992, currently connecting 84 history, heritage and citizenship educators’ associations and related institutes from over 50 countries. Its core mission is to support the development of responsible and innovative history, heritage, and citizenship education by promoting critical thinking, mutual respect, stability and democracy through its projects and activities. EuroClio holds official UNESCO NGO status and is a member of the INGO Forum of the Council of Europe, the DARE Network, and the Lifelong Learning Platform. Since 1992, EuroClio has implemented over 68 national, regional, and pan-European projects, and has an annual average face-to-face outreach to approximately 15,000 education professionals across Europe and beyond. 

Data Sheet

Project partners:

Stiftung Kreisau für Europäische Verständigung
Post Bellum, Tschechische Republik
Tolerspace Kyiv Educational Center

Funding country: Germany
Duration: November 2021 until December 2022



More about the project

Education Agenda NS-Injustice

The Magazine of the Education Agenda NS-InjusticeThe Magazine of the Education Agenda NS-Injustice

The Education Agenda NS-Injustice started in autumn 2021 with two certainties: Firstly, the survivors are passing away; there are few chances today to meet eyewitnesses who can tell us first-hand about the atrocities committed by the National Socialists. Secondly, we are increasingly entering contexts in which boundaries between fiction and fact are blurred. Under these conditions, we are dependent on new ways of learning and innovative forms of conveyance in our critical examination of National Socialist injustice and in historical-political educational work. In the magazine we present the funding program, projects and current debates.