Disenfranchisement as a Defining Experience

Appreciation of differences and diversity

The project was committed to communicating content and methods that are strictly in line with the recognition and appreciation of differences and diversity in educational contexts. Special emphasis was put on inclusion as a social model. Access points to the topics has been developed and offered in multi-faceted, target group appropriate approaches which view diversity and difference as normality and which offer the educationally disadvantaged opportunities and ways to actively participate in society.

Activity and experience oriented

Interactive elements such as simulation and role-playing games created activity-oriented learning situations which made learning about history into an active, self-determined research process and experience. In a peer-to-peer training course about human rights, young people were trained to become multipliers and disseminators and peers, and learn to recognize and use opportunities for social participation and scopes of action, as well as to motivate other young people to participate.

Training report: Learning from history - but how? (German)

Modular qualification program for multipliers "History is not yesterday: deprivation and human rights in past and present"

Program Flyer (German)

Since 2008, the project Disenfranchisement as a Defining Experience – Network for Human Rights Education has been developed a broad spectrum educational programme, combining approaches from memorial pedagogy, historical-political education about National Socialism, and human rights and civic education. This multifaceted approach seeked innovative and inclusion-aware forms of engagement with the history of National Socialism and past experiences of disenfranchisement in combination with a an awareness to present-day issues and current political questions about democracy and human rights. The historical-political learning took the historical site as departure point: the location of Bergen-Belsen as a former concentration camp, prisoner of war camp, and Displaced Persons camp.

The educational approaches were observed and discussed with project and cooperation partners with regard to both national and international context, and had been further developed on both theoretical and practical levels.

The project was supported by the European Social Fund

Human rights-oriented historical-political education

Taking the history of National Socialism and the historical locations as a starting point, the project developed specific formats, methods, and approaches to human rights oriented education. Historical contexts and lines of development were examined, and at the same time current discourses, continuities, and relevant present-day issues, with special focus on humans rights, have been brought into the discussion.

The engagement with the gradual human rights violations and the crimes against humanity committed under the Nazi regime and in particular at locations such as Bergen-Belsen put a special emphasis on continuities in disenfranchisement and on their present-day relevance. This specific approach was intended to encourage critical reflection on human rights and ethical principles by combining historical knowledge transfer and education about, for and through human rights.

Contemporary relevance and closeness to real-life

The project’s methods oriented to the target groups’ everyday lives individual and are intended to offer individual and biographical approaches for discussions about the historical context and experiences of disenfranchisement and exclusion in the National Socialist era. An engagement with history and politics that connected to the real lives and interests of the participants and their own questions about social and political issues facilitates intensive and lasting learning.