Study Tour on Commemorative Cultures in Germany

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Germany has not let the Holocaust, as the biggest crime committed against Jews in the history of mankind, be forgotten. Representatives of NGOs and the media from the former Yugoslavia, particularly the countries caught by the war in the near past, had a chance to see how that country deals with its past.

A representative of BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina was among the participants in “Study Tour on Commemorative Cultures in Germany”, which was organized by Robert Bosh Stiftung.

The study visit began in Berlin, where the participants visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe that was built six years ago. In addition to huge grey slabs, the Memorial contains an exhibition of big photographs of the murdered people and a room of the murdered people where visitors can hear personal stories. At the very entrance to the Museum underground area there is a sign saying: “It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say”.

During their stay in Berlin the participants visited several monuments, as well as the places reminding of the Germany’s struggle to face the past and pay respect to victims. Besides that, they had an opportunity to see how audio and video recordings of the testimonies of victims, who survived detention camps, are archived.

The NGO and media representatives from the former Yugoslavia visited the “Buchenwald” detention camp, near Weimar, where 56,000 people died.

Daniel Gaede, who guided the group and explained individual parts of the detention camp, himself is a victim. Daniel and his brother went to Palestine and Israel in order to take part in reconciliation of the two peoples. However, a Palestinian threw a bomb inside their bus. Daniel’s brother got killed, while Daniel lost one eye.

A memorial board on which names of all nations, whose members were the victims, are carved can be found in Buchenwald. Among those nations are Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats and others. The board is specific because of its warmth, as its temperature is kept at the temperature of the human body.

The participants in “Study Tour on Commemorative Cultures in Germany” also visited Munich, where they had a chance to speak to the Chief Prosecutor and court representatives, who processed crimes, as well as journalists, who reported from those court processes.

Besides that, the participants watched a movie titled “And Along Come Tourists” directed by Robert Thalheim in 2007. The movie demonstrates how a person can deal with crime consequences.

The study visit to commemorative cultures in Germany took place from June 19 to 25 this year.