ErinnerungsZeit – an animated Graphic Novel
Our animated graphic novel invites young people to participate in remembrance of National Socialism. It raises awareness and encourages reflection on discrimination from the past and the present.
Timeframe: 2022 - 2024
The Berghof Foundation’s project “ErinnerungsZeit” creates a space for digital peace education that promotes both critical historical awareness and media literacy among young people (aged between 14 and 17) based on an animated graphic novel. It contributes to a multi-perspective, inclusive and participative culture of remembrance of National Socialism in German-speaking countries.
In five storylines, the graphic novel focuses on biographies of people whose experiences and perspectives have received little attention when discussing Germany's work on the remembrance of National Socialism; people who continue to experience systemic exclusion, (structural) discrimination, hate and who are hardly heard in the majority of society. The narratives also focus on people who, from the past and present, are aware of their privileges and seek peers in order to fight discrimination and persecution.
The youth’s capacities to act as active members of a civil society whose actions extend into the virtual space are strengthened as they critically examine the National Socialist illegitimate state, the perpetuation of its consequences until today and the various forms of resistance against injustice.
With the official end of the second World War, the National Socialist illegitimate state’s crimes came to an end. Nevertheless, inhumane phenomena, such as discrimination, hate (speech), racism and persecutions still exist today. Especially marginalised groups, whose voices are barely heard by the majority of society, continue to be systematically excluded. Consequently, their experiences and stories are not represented evenly in the official culture of remembrance in Germany, despite these people being persecuted during National Socialism.
According to the survey “policy matters” (2020, DIE ZEIT), 75% of all youths between 14 and 19 years would like to know more about the National Socialist illegitimate state. The confrontation with history could sensitise youth for forms of racism and discrimination. Digital formats that can be used by youths outside classrooms are central for them to form awareness independently of the consequences of the National Socialist state in the present time.
The project “ErinnerungsZeit – an animated Graphic Novel” creates a digital learning space in order to strengthen critical historical awareness and media expertise of young people. The dialogue oriented and peace educational approach promotes empathy towards marginalised groups. Jews, Sinti and Roma, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC) and other groups are given the opportunity to render their experiences and perspectives visible. The format of graphic novels is particularly suitable for processes of accounting for historical events, as it illustrates complex story lines combining graphic and text. This way, they encourage youths to engage critically in media consumption and media production (Clark, 2013; William 2008).
The graphic novel addresses the following topics:
- Sinti and Roma and Antiziganism
- Jews and Antisemitism
- BIPoC and Racism
- Descendants of perpetrators, discrimination and shame
- Multiple discrimination
- Resistance and privilege-conscious and discrimination-sensitive conduct
- Disinformation and conspiracy theories
In an interdisciplinary university seminar, a group of students will contribute as peers to the creation of the graphic novel. The students develop the storylines of the graphic novel in collaboration with the project partners and the project team and they meet and interact with the representatives of the groups whose views and voices the graphic novel aims to disseminate. Mutual empathy developed throughout the process can contribute to the (self-)empowerment of all participants. This interactive concept by itself invites diverse and also contradictory perspectives to be shared during the development process and, thus, promotes a multi-perspective, participatory and respectful culture of remembrance of the National Socialist era.
A German-speaking social media campaign to promote the graphic novel will create a virtual place where young people and multipliers can engage with the experiences of people who were discriminated against and persecuted during the National Socialist era and after 1945.
Goals and Results
The artistically designed, animated and interactive graphic novel enables youth in an innovative way to deal with the topics of the National Socialist illegitimate state, resistance and persistent discrimination after 1945 in an explorative and independent way and to acquire corresponding knowledge. By actively contributing to a multi-perspective, inclusive and participatory National Socialist remembrance culture, youth simultaneously strengthen their awareness of (their own) privileges.
A tailor-made social media campaign, as well as workshops and teaching materials specifically directed at multipliers in schools and extracurricular historical-political educators will contribute to the target group orientation of the project.
The project’s target groups are youth aged 14 to 17 and multipliers of historical-political education, who contribute to the dissemination of the graphic novel by using it in both formal and extracurricular education.
The project’s key actors are youth between 18 and 30 years of age, who contribute to the development of the graphic novel as peers.
Partners and Funding
The project "ErinnerungsZeit - an animated Graphic Novel" is funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) as part of the Education Agenda National Socialist Injustice.
Partners involved in the implementation are the association „Verband Deutscher Sinti & Roma Landesverband Baden-Württemberg (VDSR BW)“, the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial as part of the Hamburg Memorial Foundation and Places of Learning in Memory of the Victims of National Socialist Crimes and Asamblea Desobediente.
Anna Dorothea Wunderlich
Media and Communications Manager
+49 (0) 177 7052758