“Although millions of foreign men and women were forced to work in Nazi Germany and the topic has been very well researched, forced labor is still an astonishingly rare subject in the classroom.” This is why Elisabeth Schwabauer, Head of the Pedagogy and Education Department at the ITS, and her team developed a workshop in 2016 which focuses on the conditions and effects of forced labor. The ITS holds an extensive collection of documents that provide an insight into how forced laborers were treated and which regulations and punishments they were subjected to. “We are additionally drawing attention to topics such as the treatment of pregnant forced laborers and the exploitation of children and adolescents,” Elisabeth Schwabauer explained. “It is also interesting to explore local connections which, on account of our extensive archival holdings, can be made to nearly every region of Germany.”
“Forced labor under National Socialism” study day
In June 2016, the ITS, the Educational Center of the Fritz Bauer Institute, and the Jewish Museum Frankfurt jointly offered a new workshop as a study day for teachers and educators from various memorial and educational institutions. It was followed by other events with network partners. The International Winter School for Educators, which was organized by the ITS together with the Nazi Forced Labor Documentation Center in Berlin and was held for the first time in February 2017, is also dedicated to this important chapter in the history of Nazi persecution.
The teachers who attended were impressed by the opportunity to research directly in the ITS database and then use scans of the documents. They said that the proximity to their students’ own current living environment was especially motivating. Researching in the database suggests the kind of practical teaching that appeals to the reception habits of young ‘digital natives.’ The ITS speakers gave a solid introduction to the state of research and the collections. They created a matter-of-fact and yet considerate atmosphere, which is critical to the success of the emotionally taxing activity of exploring Nazi crimes.Gottfried Kößler, deputy director of the Fritz Bauer Institute
As one important component of its restructured educational approach, the ITS is offering a range of one- and two-day workshops for educators. The workshops are based on the focal points of the collections and work of the ITS, including deportations, displaced persons (DPs), and displaced children.
It was followed by other events with network partners. The International Winter School for Educators, which was organized by the ITS together with the Nazi Forced Labor Documentation Center in Berlin and was held for the first time in February 2017, is also dedicated to this important chapter in the history of Nazi persecution.