New forms of remembrance

At the moment digital remembrance is almost the only way to commemorate the Night of the November Pogroms. Meron Mendel talks about new forms of remembrance.

The Israeli educator is director of the Anne Frank Educational Center.
The Israeli educator is director of the Anne Frank Educational Center.

Taking young people seriously, meeting them as equals, joining in conversation. Meron Mendel, Director of the Anne Frank Educational Center in Frankfurt, talks about how we can carry on remembering the Nazi era despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Mendel, is there a danger that remembrance days, such as today’s Night of the November Pogroms, are being neglected because of the Covid-19 pandemic?
It is understandable and completely normal in the current crisis that many people are thinking more about the present situation and their current problems. But today, more than ever before, we need to show why remembering historical injustices is relevant to our life together in the here and now. Whether this takes place in live public events, or in digital form, is of secondary importance.

During the Covid-19 crisis we have streamed conversations with witnesses of the times on our Youtube platform.

Meron Mendel

How important is the possibility of digital remembrance in general?
Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic the digital world was shaping the young generation’s consciousness very strongly. That’s why we have been developing concepts for a long time now at the Anne Frank Educational Center to provide digital access to historical-political topics. For instance, during the Covid-19 crisis we have streamed digital conversations on our Youtube platform with the witnesses of the times, Zvi Cohen and Eva Szepesi.

Is this a way to enlighten the young generation?
In our educational work with young people our approach is based less on enlightenment. We focus more on taking them seriously with their experiences, their knowledge and their ideas. That’s why our workshops with young people are always led by our democracy coaches – young adults who themselves have recently graduated from school and have started vocational training or studying. They meet with the young people as equals. They talk with them about racism and anti-Semitism and encourage them to develop their own positions which, together with their ideas, are valuable for our society. Showing them that their voices count.

Join us in a tour of the learning centre at the Anne Frank Educational Center. Click here for the story.

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