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Touching stories

Sad, witty, moving: Young Israelis and Germans write about what they experienced in the other country. 

Kim Berg, 19.07.2018
ConAct official ceremony with Minister Giffey and Ambassador Issacharoff
ConAct official ceremony with Minister Giffey and Ambassador Issacharoff © ConAct/Ruthe Zuntz

In Jerusalem Hannah learns that only old ladies have Biblical names. Yaara visits a friend on a caravan site in Leipzig. Scha’ul leaves Tel Aviv to study Architecture in Munich – and is confronted with never-ending questions from his family. The true and fictional stories which young Germans and Israelis wrote for the competition “We don’t forget, we go dancing. German-Israeli youth exchange writes stories” are imaginative, moving, and full of humour and esprit. ConAct, the Coordination Center for German-Israeli Youth Exchange, organised the writing challenge to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel: Young people from Israel and Germany were to pen their encounters and experiences in the other country in the form of reports or short stories.

Sharing experiences with others

“We don’t forget, we go dancing: This short sentence puts it in a nutshell – the significance of the past and the present day when young people from Germany and Israel come together,” says Christine Mähler, who heads ConAct. The articles, more than two dozen in number, are now available for reading in German and Hebrew in the online library at In July a jury made up of prominent authors awarded prizes to the eight most striking stories. Israeli Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff and Franziska Giffey, the German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, also attended the official ceremony in Berlin. Youngsters who took part in the German-Israeli exchange programme can also upload their articles to the website even after the end of the competition. “We would like to continue to offer young people an opportunity to write about their experiences and share them with others,” says Christin Henke from ConAct, who was involved in the project from the outset.