Online volunteer project: "Contemporary Witnesses on Forced Labour in WWII''

24 Sep 2020

WWII Memorial Sites online volunteering opportunity with SCI Germany

Project Dates: 23 October to 22 November

Description: For 20 years, an association of committed citizens has been working through the traces of forced labour under National Socialism and international prisoners in the then "Arbeitserziehungslager Ohrbeck" (AEL) - a Gestapo concentration camp - to redress the effects of forced labour. From January 1944 until the end of the war, more than 2,000 prisoners, including numerous people from the Netherlands and the former Soviet Union, had to work here for a steel factory, clearing rubble and clearing bombs. Many lost their lives in Gestapo custody. Most of the forced labourers came from the Netherlands and the Soviet Union. Their punishment also served as a deterrent for over 25,000 forced labourers in the Osnabrück region, half of whom came from the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

Type of Work: On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of National Socialism and the war, volunteers have the opportunity to make the stories of the often forgotten millions of forced laborers and the hundreds of thousands of AEL prisoners visible through. Together, they are preparing the story of a Ukrainian prisoner of AEL. They each write text fragments of a biographical interview with the former forced labourer, help with translations where possible, put the fragments together online and thus jointly trace the biography of this person in order to preserve it for the future. The joint project of the volunteers will be included in the memorial's exhibition and thus serve further documentary and educational purposes.

Study Theme: Using the concrete example, the volunteers will deal with forced labour and Nazi history as well as its causes and consequences. This year, the focus is on the contemporary witness interview with a Ukrainian forced labourer who experienced war and the Holocaust. The participants take part in digital tours of the Augustaschacht Memorial and its permanent and special exhibitions. If interested, the Gestapokeller Memorial can also be visited digitally.

Time Committment: The project will start with an intensive kick-off meeting on the weekend 24 and 25 October on Zoom. Together with all participants, the project coordinators will plan and agree on the format that facilitates participants' everyday life with work and studies. There will be regular meetings in small groups and in plenary sessions over a period of 3-4 weeks. The final event after max. 4 weeks (22 Nov 2020 at the latest), depending on the timing of the individual meetings, will also take place on Zoom.

Requirements: VSI membership. Volunteers must be open-minded, respectful, able and willing to participate in archaeological documentation, be open for new perspectives, interested in the topic and intercultural encounters, and speak good English.

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