German Bundestag organizes Youth Encounter at the Arolsen Archives

Every year, the German Bundestag organizes a Youth Encounter to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. Despite facing serious travel disruptions due to the rail strike, around 70 young people visited the Arolsen Archives on January 29.

Passing on memories of National Socialist persecution within families and within society as a whole – this was the theme of the 2024 Youth Encounter, an annual event hosted by the German Bundestag for young people who are involved in “Never Again” initiatives and a wide range of other remembrance projects. At the event held in Bad Arolsen on January 29, the visitors had the opportunity to see for themselves how Arolsen Archives staff go about their work; they were also able to meet people whose lives have been unexpectedly transformed by the work of the Arolsen Archives.

„For me, today’s highlight was talking to the staff who carry out research for the families and who showed us how they go about it.“

Julia, a student from Leipzig

The program also included a conversation with Mirjam. After submitting an inquiry to the Arolsen Archives, she recently got to know members of her large family who live in Israel and other countries. Reuniting families has always been an important part of the work of the institution founded by the Allies more than 75 years ago.


Education and initiatives for young people

The information people find at the Arolsen Archives enables them to examine their own family’s history of persecution. As well as helping people to come to terms with the past at an individual level, the work of the Arolsen Archives has an impact on society as a whole – primarily through initiatives such as #everynamecounts and #StolenMemory and through the contemporary digital educational resources they provide for young people.

The guests who attended the Bundestag Youth Encounter had the opportunity to find out more about this aspect of the institution’s work. This included a sneak peek at the new online education tool “und heute?” (literal translation: “and today?”) ahead of its launch in May 2024. It features mini-games whose focus extends beyond the history of National Socialism to deal with the social issues of marginalization and inclusion since 1945.

Passing on memories in the past, present, and future – by the end of their visit to the Arolsen Archives, the young people had gained wide-ranging insights into fascinating aspects of this theme. You can find more information (in German) about the visit here:

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