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Dear readers,

A drawing, a prisoner’s card, a postcard from the camp – many different types of evidence were reviewed prior to the start of the compensation payments to former prisoners of concentration camps, ghettos, and labor education camps as well as to forced laborers in June 2001. Assessing these documents during the application review process was always a balancing act. One key aim was to set up a dignified process that was as unbureaucratic as possible for the survivors, some of whom were very elderly. But the procedure also needed to meet the requirements of the complicated international negotiations leading up to the establishment of the EVZ Foundation and the decision to make these same payments. The payments continued until 2007 and were intended to provide 1.6 million people with an acknowledgment, albeit belated, of the terrible suffering they had endured.

They also marked the end point of a prolonged debate around guilt, suffering, and the exploitation of millions of people as well as the starting point of the Foundation’s work of honoring the lives and accomplishments of the survivors of National Socialist persecution, displacement, and enslavement as well as creating a space in our culture of remembrance for the affected individuals in all their remaining diversity.

“We know that is very important, we can’t simply forget that; we have to be very alert and very attentive because we know how many people are still on the march and how many still live in secret,” forced laborer Philomena Franz once said. There is no better way of describing the importance our work has today. And especially in these times: Keeping the memory alive and fighting antisemitism, antigypsyism, and discrimination in all their current forms – that is our mission and our responsibility.

With this in mind, we hope you’ll stay connected with us and demonstrate your commitment together with us!

Best regards,
Dr. Andrea Despot

In response to current events: #EveryDayAgainstAntisemitism

#AgainstAntisemitism: Influencers take a stance in social video series

#AgainstAntisemitism: Influencers take a stance in social video series

Actor Susan Sideropoulos and social influencers Melissa Lee, Fabian Grischkat, and Louisa Dellert are part of the #AgainstAntisemitism initiative funded by the EVZ Foundation. These multipliers have a strong following and take a stance against antisemitism in the four-part video series on YouTube and Instagram. In interviews with their guests, they highlight the diversity of young Jewish people’s lives in Germany. The initiative was set up thanks to cooperation between AJC Berlin and the MESH Collective (Divimove).

Check out the videos (in German) >

Workshop: “Muslim-Jewish Cooperation for Changing the Narrative”

Workshop: “Muslim-Jewish Cooperation for Changing the Narrative”

The Kreuzberg Initiative against Antisemitism (KIga) invited partner organizations from Germany, other European countries, and the US to a digital workshop focusing on this topic at the end of May. The workshop included a panel discussion in which participants Derviş Hızarcı, Chantal Suissa-Runne, and Majid Alsayegh reflected on the impacts the current political situation in the Middle East is having on their efforts to foster a dialog between people of different faiths in Germany, the Netherlands, and the US. Best-practice projects presented during the workshop sessions included the AUSARTEN Festival, the winner of this year’s EVZ Foundation Award for Jewish-Muslim Solidarity. The workshop’s key outcome: Create safe spaces for exchanges, keep lines of communication open, and listen to each other – especially now.

Learn more >

Getting civil society involved: “Coalition against Antisemitism in Halle” founded

Getting civil society involved: “Coalition against Antisemitism in Halle” founded

Supported by the EVZ Foundation, “Halle gegen Rechts – Bündnis für Zivilcourage” is a new non-partisan coalition that collaborates with a wide range of partners to foster a coalition against antisemitism in Halle (Saale). Working at the local level, the project helps to pinpoint antisemitism and take steps to counter it on the ground. All the coalition’s members organize internal education events and come together to participate in public campaigns aimed at combating antisemitism.

Find out about the Projekt (in German) >

Ask a rabbi: Questions and answers about Jewish life and culture

Ask a rabbi: Questions and answers about Jewish life and culture

Why do Jewish holidays always start on the evening before? What exactly does a rabbi do? And are gummy bears actually kosher? A Young people remember project called “Mazewa – Mapping Jewish Life and Death in the Zittau Region” set up by Hillersche Villa, a socio-cultural center in Saxony, looks at these and other questions pertaining to Jewish life and Jewish culture. Two rabbis based in Saxony responded to the questions, and their answers were filmed for the “Ask a rabbi!” talk show.

Watch now >

Co-Memory coalition

Co-Memory coalition

Co-Memory is a joint initiative set up by the Jewish community in Düsseldorf and the Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma. Together with other organizations and networks in Düsseldorf, the two self-organizations aim to establish a solid regional coalition to counter antisemitism and racism against the Roma and Sinti communities. A specialist conference on May 26 involving stakeholders from civil society looked at how these goals can be achieved. The coalition plans exchanges and events in the summer and fall that are designed to counter hostile tendencies and strengthen solidarity in society. Co-Memory is also working to boost public awareness of cultures of remembrance for many different Jewish, Sinti, and Roma communities in Germany.

Get to know the coalition (in German) >

Rolf Joseph Award: Writing contest for school students

© Sean Gallup

Rolf Joseph Award: Writing contest for school students

“So, is everything kosher?! – Jewish life, past and present” – this is the topic for the Rolf Joseph Award, which is supported by the EVZ Foundation. In cooperation with the “Young people write” page of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, awards will be presented to the best submissions from school students in grades 8 to 11, whether individually or as a group and as part of classroom projects or on their own initiative.
The award has been presented every year since 2014 and was set up on the initiative of students at the Evangelisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster school in Berlin after meeting Holocaust survivor Rolf Joseph.

Accepting entries until August 15 (in German) >

Jewish-Muslim Cultural Days in Heidelberg

© Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg

Jewish-Muslim Cultural Days in Heidelberg

Initiated by the Heidelberg Coalition for Jewish-Muslim Relations, this year’s Jewish-Muslim Cultural Days will kick off on July 1 with a concert by Tayfun Guttstadt and Daniel Kahn. The event is set to include a wide range of formats, including a discussion evening looking at mental health from the Jewish and Muslim perspectives, a poetry slam, a reading with Cihan Acar, and a movie night showing Masel Tov Cocktail. The coalition is also very active beyond Jewish-Muslim Cultural Days and produces the Mekka und Jerusalem podcast. The most recent edition tells stories of exchanging philosophical views across the boundaries of different religions, with the next edition – about changes in Arab-Israeli relations – set to appear in June.
The coalition is funded by the EVZ Foundation and is a joint initiative of the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (University for Jewish Studies) and Teilseiend e.V. – Muslim Academy Heidelberg.

Listen to podcast (in German) > Discover Culture Days program (in German) >


September 30, 2021: Courageous! Taking a stance against antisemitism and Islamophobia together

© Maimonides Jüdisch-Muslimisches Bildungswerk

September 30, 2021: Courageous! Taking a stance against antisemitism and Islamophobia together

Set up by Jewish-Muslim educational institute Maimonides and funded by the EVZ Foundation, “Courageous! Taking a stance against antisemitism and Islamophobia together” is a project that trains professionals and volunteers to carry out process-oriented project work with children and young people in the Rhine-Main region. The project focuses on raising awareness against antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism and critically examining the hostile attitudes inherent to the National Socialist thinking. A regional workshop will be held in Mainz on September 30, for educators working with children and young people, teachers, and representatives of cultural and religious communities and organizations.

Register now (in German) >

#Zahor – remembering for the future

© Centropa

#Zahor – remembering for the future

The #Zahor – Erinnern für die Zukunft project platform created by the Centropa history organization is online. This project aims to offer a visible and tangible insight into Jewish history and Jewish life in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and in the Kraichgau region. A range of activities are designed to give young people and educators personal access to Judaism. Numerous players from the cultural and education sectors in the area support this aim by contributing to the platform. The EVZ Foundation is funding “Soccer and the culture of remembrance,” a local coalition project that is part of the initiative. The project is planning to make modern (online) education offers available on the platform for use in the classroom and for extracurricular purposes. This approach aims to promote a critical examination of Jewish life in society and an active culture of remembrance in the region.

Explore the project (in German) >

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News from the EVZ Foundation

June 13, 2001: The beginning of compensation payments to former forced laborers

© BArch, B 145 Bild-00138954, Sandra Steins

June 13, 2001: The beginning of compensation payments to former forced laborers

Compensation payments to former forced laborers began twenty years ago yesterday with the transfer of an initial installment in the amount of 55,612,425 DM to the Czech-German Fund for the Future, a partner organization in the Czech Republic. It was an historic moment that was followed by further payments to partner organizations in Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine as well as the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the same month June 2001. The EVZ Foundation’s international partner organizations processed the applications in the compensation payment program for the benefit of former forced laborers and other victims of the National Socialist regime.

More information on the initiation of payments >

Study on the culture of remembrance: Conspiracy myths fuel historical revisionism

Study on the culture of remembrance: Conspiracy myths fuel historical revisionism

A nuanced understanding of Germany’s National Socialist past can help combat tendencies to instrumentalize and relativize history. This is one of the conclusions reached by the “Multidimensional Remembrance Monitor – MEMO Deutschland IV/2021” study funded by the EVZ Foundation and published by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) at Bielefeld University. The annual survey examines evidence relating to how and what people in Germany remember about National Socialism.

Read the study now >

Youth involvement: MEET UP! funding program Youth for Partnership kicks off with simulation

© Ralph Pache

Youth involvement: MEET UP! funding program Youth for Partnership kicks off with simulation

“Pimp My Eastern Partnership”: A simulation planned for June 22 and 23 aims to work with young people to develop participation formats for young people. Designed together with the Politik zum Anfassen association, the format is part of the MEET UP! funding program. Numerous applications for digital and hybrid bilateral and multilateral youth exchanges organized by executing agencies from Germany, Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine were submitted in the first call for applications for the program. MEET UP! is being financed from 2021 to 2023 with funds from the Federal Foreign Office and the EVZ Foundation.

Learn more >

Emergency coronavirus relief for survivors of National Socialist persecution

© Slawjanskoe Serdze

Emergency coronavirus relief for survivors of National Socialist persecution

The EVZ Foundation is making 160,000 euros available to provide emergency relief for 2,500 survivors of National Socialist persecution in Belarus, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine. These very elderly individuals require special assistance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes hygiene and personal protection items, food packages, material support, and reimbursements for social and medical services, depending on what the individuals need. Projects are implemented at the local level by partner organizations of the EVZ Foundation.

Learn more about the impacts the pandemic is having on survivors of National Socialism >

Networking meetings in the digital // memory funding program

Networking meetings in the digital // memory funding program

How can the history of National Socialism be shared and communicated in the virtual space? How are new media changing our image of the past? The projects in the EVZ’s digital // memory program address these questions with input from the iRights.Lab think tank. Seven projects from Poland and Germany that are part of the current round of funding met on April 28 and 29 to share ideas and experiences during project talks. The meeting focused on the balance between technological possibilities, feasibility, and usability as well as appropriate ways of telling stories and the limits of virtual reality in the practical work of the culture of remembrance.

Go to funded projects >

Outlook: 80th anniversary of the attack on the Soviet Union on June 22

© Dokumentationszentrum NS-Zwangsarbeit

Outlook: 80th anniversary of the attack on the Soviet Union on June 22

On June 22, 1941, the German Wehrmacht carried out an attack on the Soviet Union that marked the start of a racially motivated war of annihilation. The objective of this campaign was to annex “Lebensraum,” or space to live and to subject the conquered territories and the people living there to economic exploitation using forced labor. The SS conducted numerous massacres among the civilian population in which more than half a million Jewish people, Sinti and Roma, prisoners of war, and political prisoners lost their lives.
Over the coming days, the EVZ Foundation will remember the fates of the victims, who remain underrepresented in the culture of remembrance to this day: Soviet prisoners of war and so-called “Ostarbeiter” (Eastern workers).

Learn about the stories >

Funding News

Remembering Yakov Lomaka in Vienna

© Internationales Mauthausen Komitee (CIM)

Remembering Yakov Lomaka in Vienna

The Comité International de Mauthausen (International Mauthausen Committee, CIM) is honoring the life of Yakov Lomaka from Ukraine, who passed away in March 2021. His portrait was displayed at an outdoor exhibition on May 8 at Heldenplatz in Vienna and at the roll call ground at the Mauthausen memorial on May 16. Yakov Lomaka was a young man when he survived forced labor and disenfranchisement at the Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Linz camps. He lived to be 96 years old. Journalist Lesya Kharchenko profiled him for the EVZ Foundation exhibition “The grass was high” last year.

Go to Online-Exhibition >

Congratulations: Noemi Staszewski honored with German Federal Cross of Merit

© Bundesregierung / Steffen Kugler

Congratulations: Noemi Staszewski honored with German Federal Cross of Merit

Noemi Staszewski, initiator and long-time manager of the meeting place set up by the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST) in Frankfurt am Main, has been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier honored Staszewski for her commitment to Holocaust survivors and for the remarkable support she has provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It all began with a small café, and more and more survivors started meeting there over time. Staszewski’s team continues to support over 200 survivors aged between 80 and 100 years today – in the Frankfurt region alone. There are plans to set up meeting points in other cities as well. The EVZ Foundation has been funding this work since 2004.

Find out more about the meeting place (in German) >

Young people remember: Project development workshop

Young people remember: Project development workshop

Young people remember is going digital. The Covid-19 pandemic is presenting challenges for international youth work due to border closures and shuttered museums and memorial sites. So how can we still stay in touch with each other and work across borders? The EVZ Foundation is using a project development workshop with a modular design to help projects in the Young people remember program transfer exchanges that were to take place in person into digital or hybrid formats. This workshop is yielding innovative concepts for international memorial and remembrance work that will continue to be used once the pandemic is over.

Find out about the project >

Tune in: Podcast by Romani Chaji, the girls group of the RomaniPhen e.V. association

Tune in: Podcast by Romani Chaji, the girls group of the RomaniPhen e.V. association

Romani Chaji is a group of eight young Romani girls who meet regularly to discuss topics that are important to them. The podcasts they have produced on the issues “coronavirus,” “racism in schools,” “everyday racism,” and “the racist sauce” are well worth a listen. The project “From our perspective – RomaniChaji Reloaded” is funded by the EVZ Foundation.

Listen on Spotify (in German) >

Video documentation from the “Safety for older people 2020/21” seminar

© Internationale gesellschaftliche Vereinigung "Verständigung"

Video documentation from the “Safety for older people 2020/21” seminar

How can volunteers interact with older people appropriately and safely? How can they deal with stress and some of the negative moods older people deal with when the outer world is in a state of instability? What’s the best way to support older people who are lonely on the phone? The Belarusian organizations in the “Dialogue Forum” program have grappled with a host of new questions during the pandemic. The videos taken during the “Safety for older people 2020/21” seminar hosted by the Mutual Understanding association have answers to these questions.
Go to video series (in Belarusian)

Go to video series (in Belarusian / English subtitles) >

Podcast on forced laborers from civil society in the Soviet Union

© X3 Podcast

Podcast on forced laborers from civil society in the Soviet Union

People from the Soviet Union were considered “subhuman” in the racist and inhuman ideology of National Socialism. A project set up by dekoder and funded by the EVZ Foundation focuses on the millions of so-called “Ostarbeiter” (Eastern workers) who were deployed in the German war economy. In the X3 podcast, dekoder’s political editor Anton Himmelspach speaks with historian Ksenja Holzmann about the fate of forced laborers from civilian society in the Soviet Union.

Listen to the podcast (in German) >

Romano Drom – the journey of the Roma

Romano Drom – the journey of the Roma

Educational association Romano Drom Hagen e.V., a Romani self-organization, has published a must-read brochure in which members offer insights into their personal life stories and their work with the association. There are also others who did not contribute to the brochure – out of fear of identifying themselves as part of this minority group and out of fear that their own children would be rejected or placed at a disadvantage. This is precisely why the association finds it extremely important to critically examine the situation, demonstrate its commitment, and “be active with each other and for each other.” The EVZ Foundation provided funding for the brochure.

Find out about the project (in German) >

Time for data, facts, and figures

Forty-seven percent of respondents in the MEMO 2021 Multidimensional Remembrance Monitor said they had learned rather a lot or very much about National Socialism in school. In contrast, around a third of those responding to the survey said that, according to their estimation, they had learned not very much to nothing at all about the period between 1933 and 1945 at school. The older the respondents and the lower their level of education, the less their factual knowledge.



Dates

June 17, 2021: Webinar: “Stories that Move. Toolbox against discrimination”

Foto: Anne Frank House Amsterdam

June 17, 2021: Webinar: “Stories that Move. Toolbox against discrimination”

Stories that Move encourage school students to consider their personal role in the context of discrimination. The project’s toolbox, which is available in several languages, will be presented in a webinar coinciding with International Refugee Day on June 17; participation is free of charge. Four hundred educators already took part in the online course created by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam in cooperation with School Education Gateway in April. The course is still available online and demonstrates how Stories that Move can be used for a teaching approach that avoids discrimination and is sensitive to diversity. In addition, young people can connect on Instagram, where they have the chance to discuss questions relating to diversity and discrimination during a watch party.

Register for the webinar >

June 21-23, 2021: Symposium on the “End of Testimony?” exhibition

June 21-23, 2021: Symposium on the “End of Testimony?” exhibition

Together with the Jewish Museum of Hohenems and the Flossenbürg concentration camp memorial site, the NS-Dokumentationszentrum München (National Socialism Documentation Center in Munich) is hosting an event that will consider and discuss the future of testimony. The question is not only whether there will be a potential gap in society but also how recollections that have been shared and stored via media can be dealt with in a well-considered way – when, that is to say, those sharing the stories are no longer able to take part in the process themselves. Academics from various disciplines will consider the future that lies ahead for the work of remembrance once survivors of the Holocaust have passed away.

Learn more (in German) >

June 24, 2021: Expert conference: “Remembering with Games“

© Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur

June 24, 2021: Expert conference: “Remembering with Games“

What role can games play in historical and political education without trivializing the events they address? An expert conference hosted by the Foundation for Digital Games Culture and supported by the EVZ Foundation will look at this question, with experts from the games industry and culture of remembrance discussing how digital games can deal with the time of National Socialism in a sensitive way.
Using an approach similar to reading in the traditional sense, a number of “reflections” will offer insights into digital games that critically examine the topic of National Socialism and its surrounding ideologies. The conference is free of charge and is also geared toward people who have had little contact with the medium of games.

Register (in German) >

October 2021: Testimony exchanges with Ruth Weiss

© Superikonoskop, CC BY-SA 4.0

October 2021: Testimony exchanges with Ruth Weiss

Over the past 20 years, the EVZ Foundation has funded over 1,200 projects involving exchanges with testimonies. Even before the pandemic, these conversations were becoming rarer due to the advanced age of the survivors. Unfortunately, the restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have only accelerated this trend; ensuring the safety of survivors during in-person encounters is challenging. On the other hand, schools have shown little interest so far in digital formats that are intended to serve as a replacement. Which is why we are all the more pleased to share that Ruth Weiss is planning to travel throughout Germany again starting in October and will be taking part in numerous conversations. Ruth Weiss left Germany for South Africa in 1938 due to National Socialist persecution..

Learn more (in German) >

+++ Worth reading? Worth recommending! +++

+++ Worth reading? Worth recommending! +++

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Call for applications

Until September 1, 2021: local.history Germany

Until September 1, 2021: local.history Germany

In the “local.history Germany” funding program, the EVZ Foundation helps local initiatives carry out activities that shape remembrance at the local level. This program’s goal is to include as many people and as many perspectives as possible. Participants in the funded projects critically examine locations, people, and events that were part of the history of National Socialism – projects should ideally focus on National Socialist forced labor or the various groups that were persecuted under National Socialism. The call for applications is geared toward history initiatives and associations in Germany active at local and regional levels.

Find out more (in German) >

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CONTACT

EVZ Foundation/Stiftung "Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft"
Katrin Kowark
Head of Public Relations
Friedrichstraße 200
10117 Berlin
kowark@stiftung-evz.de
www.stiftung-evz.de 

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© Stiftung "Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft" 2012

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