Playing an active role in commemoration: international youth gathering at Mauthausen
Last year, the Berlin regional association of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V. (Federation of German War Graves Commission) organised the first international youth gathering at Mauthausen. This year, 16 young people from Italy, Poland, Belarus, Germany, Russia, Hungary and Turkey met here and, from 6 to 19 August, learned about the history of the Mauthausen concentration camp under the heading 'Mauthausen international – Past Fates and Present Memory Cultures'. The young people were supported during their two-week visit by Bernhard Mühleder, a member of the education team at the Mauthausen Memorial. He organised different educational programs to accompany their stay, during which they learned about the history of the site and the crimes committed here and were encouraged to contribute their own ideas and content. Alongside this, the young people carried out maintenance work at the Mauthausen Memorial and the military cemetery. ‘This practical work helps the young people to understand that they themselves can take an active role in commemoration’, said Bernhard Mühleder. On 18 August, the young people held a commemoration ceremony on the former roll call area, for which they also provided live music. This was the conclusion to their visit, which had shown them to be highly engaged in the work of the Mauthausen Memorial.
The Berlin regional association of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V. has been organising trips to the Mauthausen Memorial since 1971. Around 70 groups of young people have taken part in these to date.