On the first day, the workshop focused on laying out the work plan for the entire project. Its two main goals were formulated more precisely: the development of educational concepts and of training for educational staff.

The second day centered on the working groups and their previously agreed upon assignments concerning narratives, materials, interactive sequences and support for educational staff. Representatives of the working groups were presenting preliminary results.

The third day was spent defining research areas, reporting and evaluating, as well as with the presentation of developments and results.

Introduction by Yariv Lapid

The external experts were welcomed at the Mauthausen Memorial.

Before the day was started, Yariv Lapid gave an introduction about the work at the Mauthausen Memorial and the project itself. The basic statements were:

When dealing with topics such as the Holocaust, National Socialism, torture or mass murder, it is important to be aware of our helplessness in attempting to grasp our subject matter. We need to acknowledge the limits of our understanding.

When we attempt to create educational concepts and structures, it is particularly important for us to legitimize this basic helplessness. The sought discourse is to provide the space needed to search for the right questions.

In the course of this project, instead of focusing on what we DO know, we are to allow ourselves to experiment with and talk about what we DON’T know.

That is why it is important for the experts to feel free to admit to helplessness and not understanding. Communication on an equal plane with the participating guides in the working groups is also key.


Session on Narratives (working group 1)

The group presented their preliminary foci and main questions as well as new ideas:

  • Might there be other master-narratives than the existing one (How was it possible that 100.000 people were murdered amidst a civilian society?)?

  • Which subjects/themes are there? Are there any missing?

  • Do we have the right balance between surroundings/bystanders – perpetrators – victims within the guided tours?

  • Does the splitting into these groups make sense? It’s tempting to assign guilt, and the splitting may encourage more of that.

  • Relations/influences between the three groups?

  • The above mentioned terminology may carry various connotations (e.g. perpetrators = active — victims = passive)

  • How do we talk about the lives of the inmates during a tour?

  • How can we present the perpetrators?

  • A biographical approach is important and helps to

    • show individuals instead of groups

    • look at a victim’s life before, during and after the experience of victimisation.

  • Draft for a different master-narrative

    • talk about “what happened to different people at this place, what did they do?”


Before continuing the discussions, the external experts started off the day by taking a look at some places within the historical part of the former camp: The former SS garage yard and the former gas chamber. They talked about how these places could be handled during guided tours. Then the group of experts returned to the visitor’s center to start of the meeting.


Short Term Tasks

Questions concerning goals

Questions for guides generally are going to be of this type:

  • What do you think are the tasks of memorials in general?

  • What do you think are the tasks of the Mauthausen Memorial?

  • What brought you here?

  • What are the goals of a guided tour?

Questions for the Think Tank members are yet to be decided upon but are going to be formulated along these lines:

  • What do you think are the goals of memorials in general?

  • What do you think are the goals of the guided tour?

Assignments for the working groups

  • Develop a new tour corresponding to the inquiring questions

  • Develop interactive stations about the inmates in the inner part of the camp


  • Concept for communication (structure)

Program Elements for May

  • Start to develop a module on “violence” for the tour

  • Unit for the Think Tank on human behavior, given by Christian Gudehus

  • New tour/parts of a new tour (about inmates)

  • Dividing the Shrek group into smaller working groups

  • Evaluation (still not in focus)

Flow of information

January 23th: Protocol incl. “wall of keywords”

January 31th: Definition of the goals

April 15th: Materials for the next workshop will be made available for the Think Tank 

Biographies of perpetrators (different kinds of backgrounds and functions)

Photos, films (Dropbox etc.)

E-mail addresses, Web space

First Thoughts on Long Term Ideas

Dealing with the perpetrators (Paul Salmons)

Study visit of the teachers development program (Paul Salmons)

Study trips with schools to the Mauthausen Memorial, the focus being the environment (Paul Salmons)

Material exchange Mauthausen Memorial – Dachau (Waltraud Burger)


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