The third Bergen-Belsen International Summer School, which will be held from 1–7 August 2016 at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, will focus on the topics of memory, remembrance and bearing witness. The program will include lectures, workshops, tours and a day trip to Hanover. The Summer School is aimed at international bachelor’s and master’s students in various disciplines who want to learn more about digital, media and global developments in memory culture.
The Bergen-Belsen International Summer School wants to give participants a deeper insight into the work of Bergen-Belsen as an international place of remembrance and learning while also exposing the students to the perspectives and projects of international speakers and scholars. The Summer School is intended to be a forum for discussing various questions, such as:
- Which theories and concepts describe memory, remembrance and bearing witness?
- Which interest groups shape the memory of the Nazi era and the Holocaust?
- What role does a scholar’s own position play when researching the past?
- What are the special characteristics of different types of sources, such as files, witness accounts and pictures?
- How do feature films depict historical events?
- How do these depictions influence the viewers’ awareness of history and image of the past?
- How can something be made visible if there is no evidence of it or it has been forgotten?
The academic programme will begin with a lecture on the development of the memory of the Holocaust and the Nazi era by Aleida Assmann, Professor of English Literature and Literary Theory in Constance (retired). This will be followed by a tour of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial and an explanation of its areas of work.
On the second day of the Summer School, the participants will have the opportunity to speak with Bergen-Belsen survivor and filmmaker Frank Diamand. He will present “When Memory Comes”, the documentary film he produced about the historian Saul Friedländer, who is also a Holocaust survivor. In a workshop led by Evelien Gans, Professor of Modern Jewish History in Amsterdam, the participants will look at prisoner biographies from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and discuss the role of historians.
The workshop entitled “Images of the Unimaginable: Feature Films about the Holocaust”, led by Ulrike Weckel, Professor of Specialist Journalism in Giessen, will analyse and discuss the cinematic depiction of persecution and murder under the Nazis. Stephanie Billib (Bergen-Belsen Memorial) and Sytse Wierenga (SPECS Research Group at Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona) will lead a workshop which provides an insight into the opportunities and developments in digital learning environments at Bergen-Belsen.
The workshop led by Karen Bähr (Bergen-Belsen Memorial) will place concepts of remembrance and memory in relation to practices at places of remembrance such as Bergen-Belsen, and it will also look at gaps in memory.
During a day trip to Hanover, the group will visit the Ahlem Memorial. This former Jewish horticultural school first served as an assembly point for deportations and was later a “police replacement prison”. Evenings will be spent getting to know one another and exploring the surrounding area.
Registration and terms
The working language of the Bergen-Belsen International Summer School is English. The participants’ language skills must be sufficient to enable them to understand the preparatory texts, follow the lectures and tours and actively participate in the discussions. Participants must be 18 or older. Accommodation will be in double rooms. The costs for the programme, accommodation and meals will be borne by the Bergen-Belsen Memorial. Participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their own arrival and departure as well as any necessary visas. The Memorial will not subsidise the travel costs.