Eugenie Khatschatrian, Project Manager at EuroClio

What makes your project special or different from other projects concerning learning about the past?

Our project on Who Were the Victims of the National Socialists? will deliver a youth-empowered place-based learning Toolkit that challenges students to undertake their own history project in answering this question. What is unique about this project concerning learning about the past, is that students will be in charge of their own learning journey. They get to choose how to learn about the past and how to research this question. The teacher, is merely a facilitator in the process. The Toolkit will encourage students to think about what they would like to learn, what they would like to know about this topic and how they would like to find out. The Toolkit will consist of a larger competency-based framework that will allow both students and teachers to follow and assess the development of core democratic awareness, skills and competences, also by challenging students to think and reflect about social injustice in present-day societies.

In times of shrinking and contested spaces for civil societies across Europe: What is the role of History Education in these days?

We strongly believe in the power of History Education in shaping our identities, societies and our understanding of the world. When done in a good way, we believe History Education forms a greatly important building block of sustainable democratic societies and peace. History Education is also about developing crucial skills and competences that are necessary for civic awareness and democratic citizenship. It is about developing the ability to think critically, and about learning to deal with emotions. It is also about understanding that historical events might be experienced differently by different people and about the skills to engage in dialogue and debate with mutual respect, mutual understanding and empathy.

What do young people remember about the injustice of National Socialsm in the past in Europe? Is it the same in the east, west, north and south?

Despite an extensive documentation of survivors, eye witnesses, and a solid coverage of WWII and the Holocaust in most history curricula across Europe, the past of National Socialist injustices might seem increasingly far away for the current generation of students and youth. In this project, we aim not only to create and expand a historical understanding and awareness of the past, but we also want to show students and youth why it is still incredibly important to learn about this topic, even if they, themselves, cannot identify with stories and memories from the past. With learning from the past, we encourage youth to critically reflect on, be aware of, and recognise current structures and mechanisms in our present-day societies that may facilitate discrimination, social exclusion, hate speech or any other kind of social injustice. On top of this, we also aim for youth actively think about how to overcome these challenges to prevent social injustice in the future.