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Exhibition on Displaced Persons in Korbach and Kassel

An exhibition on view until 1 December 2009 at the International Tracing Service(ITS) in Bad Arolsen chronicles the history of two displaced persons (DP) camps in Korbach and Kassel-Hasenhecke. Under the title “Survived, Liberated, Homeless – Displaced Persons in our Region,” school children at Christian Rauch Gymnasium in Bad Arolsen present the results of their project week at the ITS archive. “It was an interesting search for clues,” said 20-year old student Hendrik Fox. “We almost felt as if we were a part of history.”

The twelve young scholars from history class studied documents on the two camps, where victims from concentration camps and forced labour camps were housed after the end of the Second World War. The students traced the lives of people who had lost their homes and often their families. “At first I wasn´t aware of what harrowing fates were behind each individual name on the camps´ lists,” said Fox.

The goal of the project week was to develop a closer relationship to the lives of those affected by persecution before, during and after the Nazi era, explained history teacher Dr. Andreas Neuwöhner. “The ITS is the ideal institution for doing this type of research, as students have direct contact to the people and absorb historical facts more than just in theory.” Students have an immediate, personal connection to their own experience with the cities of Kassel and Korbach. A visit to the municipal archive in Kassel was also on the agenda. Students are also planning to take part in a memorial for the pogrom night of 9 November 1938 at the Jewish cemetery in Bad Arolsen.

Students were supported and accompanied by ITS historian Dr. Susanne Urban and her team. “We´re striving for a long-term cooperation with area schools,” said Dr. Urban. The dimensions of the Nazi terror and the Holocaust become more tangible by looking at the fates of individual victims. “People today are still being persecuted and expelled. When young people take a stand on this issue then the legacy of the survivors is in good hands with them.”