Visit by Erich-Kästner School Baunatal
Early in October 2013 43 pupils from Baunatal Erich-Kästner school came to see the International Tracing Service (ITS). Apart from preparing a presentation on the history and present tasks and objectives of the ITS, the pupils formed groups and occupied themselves with the subject of “conceptions of man”. “If there are no contemporary witnesses around us any more, it will be our duty to pass down the lesson of history and to commemorate the Holocaust”, so history teacher Ingeborg Splettstößer.
She and her colleague Petra Koch had treated and discussed in detail the multifaceted subject of National Socialism with the pupils at their school. Joint visits to the Concentration Camp memorial in Buchenwald and the Concentration and Labour Reform Camp memorial in Breitenau preceded and prepared the workshop in Arolsen. “We have noticed that the pupils pay more attention to this subject if they are allowed to pursue research on individual fates by their own“, observes the history teacher. “This approach is new for the young people – its learning effect is that historical facts stick in their minds.”
The educators see the relevance of inspiring the adolescents to singly realize that Nazi persecution did not only happen in extermination camps in the East, i.e. far away, but also in their immediate surroundings. Documents from concentration camps, letters from correspondence files and records from other archives’ holdings helped the juveniles to familiarize themselves with different persecution fates. “The work with pupils shows us how important it is to hand down the personal life stories of the survivors“, summarises Elisabeth Schwabauer from the Research and Education Department at the ITS.