Remembering for the present and the future

School competition "Dialogue for tolerance"

At the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Cornelsen publishing house had the remarkable CD-ROM "Remembering for the present and the future" (Frankfurt e-book fair 2000) presented. In short film clips, survivors describe their personal experiences during the Holocaust. A school competition now offers all schools the chance to get involved with the CD-ROM and the topic.

Remembering for the present and the future

Jasmin Tabatabai in the chat

The CD does not depict the atrocities committed by the National Socialists, but the two main contributors to the CD-ROM, Remembering for the Present and the Future, tell of everyday life at the time of the Holocaust. With this interactive biographical approach, the CD aims to make history an object that can be experienced. In front of the camera sit Jewish citizens who, as living witnesses – and there are fewer and fewer of them – can give an authentic picture of their fate. The Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in particular has taken on the task of recording the memories of Holocaust survivors and making them accessible to the public. Through the biographies, Nazi history is closely linked to personal destinies and does not merely represent a few lines in history books. Through visual and audio documents, the Holocaust also becomes recognizable as an individual stroke of fate.

School competition "Dialogue for Tolerance"

With the school competition "Dialogue for tolerance", The organizers of the competition, which is held under the patronage of German President Johannes Rau, want to initiate projects that promote tolerance in schools, "to give new impetus to the fight against right-wing radicalism, anti-Semitism and racism. Prizes will be awarded for 12.000 DM in prize money. Steven Spielberg will present the awards on 30 September. September in Berlin highly personalized. The sponsors of the school competition are Mola Adebisi, Dr. Michel Friedmann, Thomas Gottschalk, Dr. Annette Schavan and Jasmin Tabatabai. Only previously unpublished work should be submitted. The aim is to encourage students to talk to people who have had experiences of exclusion and intolerance or who stand up for tolerance. This exchange is intended to contribute to counteracting the everyday right-wing radicalism, anti-Semitism and racism in Germany.

The evaluation of the works will be made by an independent jury, chaired by the historian Prof. Dr. Peter Brandt has taken over. At the suggestion of Telepolis, it is very likely that a school representative will also find his place there. The competition will run until 30. July 2001.

Chat with a godmother of the school competition

At the start of the school competition during the 2001 education fair in Hanover, sponsor Jasmin Tabatabai answered questions in a chat room. Die Sangerin und Schauspielerin ist 1969 als Tochter eines Iraners und einer deutschen Mutter im Iran geboren worden. She has lived in Germany with her family since 1979. She has rarely experienced offensive racism, but is nevertheless spiritedly committed to the competition. The moderated chat was hosted by Cornelsen Verlag, the Shoah Foundation and politik-digital. The questions were prepared by students of the Lippe-Berufskolleg Lippstadt..

Auszuge:

joe: Hello Ms. Tabatabai! Did you call Germany a xenophobic country?? Also in comparison with other countries… JasminTabatabai: No, not at all. I just wish sometimes that the Germans would love themselves more… And I don’t mean dumb "I am proud to be a german" or some shit like that. but a healthy loving relationship with the country in which I live?. There are also many nice things about Germany. rockstar: Many artists are committed against right-wing extremism. I think that’s great! But aren’t you sometimes afraid to become a target of right-wingers just then?? JasminTabatabai: No, I am not afraid of these dumbasses. There are enough sensible Germans. BattleofEvermore: In your opinion, is it more important to remember the past, or rather to create a basis for future generations?? JasminTabatabai: You can only build a base if you know who you are. And to know who you are, you have to know your own history. This is not about guilt and shame. Of course no German is guilty because of his origin. But we have a very special history and it is very important that we deal with it, that we also accept it. Otherwise we run the risk of making the same mistakes again. If we had processed our past properly, we would not have had the problem with the neo-Nazis today. Then not 93 people had died since 1990 as a result of right-wing extremist attacks and the CDU would not win any elections – with campaigns against dual citizenship or absurd discussions about bullshit terms like "German Leitkultur".

The full text of the chat can be found u.a. at politik-digital.

Excluded?

The competition actually opens up new opportunities for schoolchildren to approach the subject of the Holocaust intensively through biographical experiences. But the described project ideas offer exclusively the chance to deal with victims and role models in a committed way. They do not open doors and do not close them to right-minded young people. Such projects serve the demarcation and not the integration. What remains are words and declarations of intention. Even Jasmin Tabatabai is not free of such exclusionary statements. At the education fair she praised the project with the words "Suppression is the food for foolish thoughts." It’s a shame, really, because Jasmin Tabatabai speaks a refreshingly open language that is sure to find favor with young people.

At the end of the chat, the true interests of the schoolchildren from Lippstadt become apparent. But we must not completely isolate young people with right-wing leanings and must always offer them a hand and the opportunity for constructive discussion. How else can they be saved from a final slide into right-wing extremist groupings? Everyday racism still brings us questions during regulars’ table discussions such as "Why is it no longer possible to say, I am proud to be a German??" With such simple phrases, everyday racism continues to be perpetuated and we are all called upon to give equally clear answers. In this debate, no intellectual approach is of any use, but we must be able to package democratic points of view in equally simple phrases.

Nevertheless, the school competition is to be welcomed without reservation, because it provides all schoolchildren with the opportunity to deal critically with the experiences of contemporary witnesses. The competition also offers the opportunity for all participating schools to receive a free school license for the CD-ROM. If the participants in the competition manage to set up projects that are truly youth-oriented and long-term, and if the academic jury also understands that a schoolchild should definitely sit on it, then the resulting projects could become a permanent institution in the respective schools.

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