The name of the camp was “Contemporary Witnesses of Police Brutality and Forced Labour in WW II” and it took place from 23rd of October till 7th of November. Augustaschacht Memorial team together with SCI-Germany team was involved in creation of a digital format of workcamps, starting from the concept, goals, content, schedule and methods. As a result, volunteers had the opportunity to interact with international participants online, to contribute to historical-biographical work and to take part in virtual tours through the memorials and exhibitions. Using a selected biography, the volunteers dealt with forced labour and Nazi history as well as its causes and consequences. During the camp the focus was on a contemporary witness interview with a forced labourer who experienced war and the Holocaust. In addition, participants had the opportunity to exchange different historical perspectives and cultures of remembrance as well as to communicate about references to the present. Important also was to have a positive group dynamic which was successfully achieved through different teambuilding activities and the time spent together on cooking, doing meditation or yoga, reflection sessions, creation of positive mood and fulfilling different camp responsibilities.
I was very pleased to work in a very professional team, who developed mutual understanding and help. Of course, when we had some technical issues it was much easier to maintain it with such a support and respect. That feeling also was transferred to participants and we had trustworthy relations in the group and coordinated work. We celebrated diversity and were happily surprised with the talents our volunteers have. Could someone have imagined that such experience is possible through online format? I am still under warm memories and would like to share the feedback from our participants, which you can find below. Spoiler: at the end of this article you can find a poem written by one of our volunteers during a camp.
What are you going to take from this project for future life?
- I’m going to take with me people I would love to keep in touch with them after the project.
- A new knowledge about life in workcamps which I learned from the Nikolai Kulik interview.
What moment in our camp could you underline?
- Our warm ups! It was really cool when we are all together danced via Zoom.
What was your favorite part of the session?
- When we did some work together in small groups and discussed different topics or had reflection sessions.
What skills have you developed during this project?
- Communication skill. I became more confident in my English.
- Now I know how to drink tee (thanks to Lillia).
- Transcribing. I have never done this before and I really enjoy it.
This project gave me a lot. When I came to the Work Camp I had a lot of questions about forced labor during WWII that were waiting for the answers. What I can definitely say now is that I got them. One of the most vivid reminiscence of the camp are lectures about women's labor. I hope, I will have the opportunity to discover more about this topic and to read the recommended literature. I want to stress our morning energizers, which made my days happier and present me with a good mood for the day. Also, one of the activities, creating a tree, definitely stole my heart. During the project I developed a number of skills, the whole list seems endless, but I want to emphasize on increasing of my oral English, communication skills, work in team and, definitely, transcription of the interview. I want to say thank you one more time for all the participants and the organization team. You are awesome!
I’m grateful for everything I learned about History and the great people I have met. This workcamp was a great experience. My favorite moment was the space where we, the team, interacted (yoga session, chats and funny energized games) and the presentations from experts about Nazism. I am going to miss a lot about these moments. We should meet again to do more energized games and dancings together.
I'll definitely take people I met here with me (if they agree:)), the knowledge I got from Nikolai's story and lectures (that's what never should happen again) and many cool tools to work online. The most vivid moment was when all transcripts were ready and all story got together. It was like finishing a puzzle. I liked out energizers and moments we spend in small groups. It was really bonding. I mastered my skill of working with transcription, learnt how to use Canva and Trello and how to make common games cool games in online space
Thank you so much to this project! It definitely has broadened my mind! Now I have amazing memories and knowledge. I really liked workshops and warm communication parts with other participants. I will never forget the friendly, cozy atmosphere during our sessions.
I loved everything of these 2 weeks. It was very nice to share with other people all over far from discussions, games, historical knowledge and many thoughts. I learned to work in English, to make interviews to survivors, how some museums work and that we can have fun even if we are not in the same place. Actually I am not able to say what was the best part because every single thing was important for me! Just thank you to everybody.
I am thankful that I could be a part of this project! It gave me a lot of knowledge and fun during this lockdown time. I was able to combine my studies and workcamp activities. It filled my day with different interesting things. I suppose the most important part, which I'm going to take, is history inspiration. I dipped into the theme of forced labors in Nazi time. Also, I've opened a lot of tools for digital work (Zoom, Trello, Jam board, Canva, and so on). I think everything was excellent in our workcamp, especially parties (Halloween and the Closing party) with dances, costumes, and different activities.
My favorite part was a morning energizer and exercises from Good Mood Officer. Each day was unique. There were new funny dances and games. Also, I liked reflections after sessions, where we were able to know what our partners think about this day. Of course, Lili, Rita, and Nadine's Feedback tasks were brilliant! I suppose my biggest improvement is English skills (speaking and writing). Also, a work with the interview: how to transcribe, to analyze, and to collect all facts together.
About history from inside (by Anastasiia):
I know a lot of frightful stories
Which tells about facts and times.
There are uncounted memories
From people who've survived crimes.
They happened under Nazi wave,
Were covered by a cruel storm.
They told that prisoners were brave
Oppressed by the ruthless swarm.
By piece to piece, collect them all
We found evidence alive
And break misunderstanding wall
Amazing story of survival.
Important themes, important thoughts,
Discussions, questions, analyze.
A lot of information's brought
Allow taking study height.
Among the people who involve
In WWII researching theme
I feel cohesion and I solve
Momentous global peaceful dream
So, all my thanks I send to you,
Amazing, education team.
To your holistic overview
About horrible regime.
Appreciate all your efforts
And piece of knowledge you disclosed.
The smallest part which you deserve
Explained in honest sincere post.