Faces of power

The Falstad Centre


The “Faces of Power” exhibition and educational program profoundly influences students’ development of historical awareness by exploring, analyzing, and discussing the actions of Second World War perpetrators. This program is crucial for fostering and understanding of perpetrator perspectives, critical thought and access to sources that students might not otherwise encounter. Authentic sites and artifacts play a significant role in this process, sparking students’ curiosity and motivation to delve deeper into the topic. The program, centered on dialogue-based teaching, encourages student interaction, significantly enhancing their historical consciousness. However, research indicates ongoing challenges with memorial site visits and the need for further development in exploratory teaching methods, which are vital components of both this program and the broader curriculum.

The task of addressing the perspectives of perpetrators at Nazi camp memorial sites is complex and sensitive. Following World War II, the extensive network of camps was transformed into memorials across Europe to honor the victims’ memories. The inclusion of perpetrator spaces, such as former camp headquarters and commanders’ houses, presents unique challenges to the educational and curatorial practices of these memorials.

In today’s context, with conflict ongoing in Europe, it is imperative to confront and discuss the heritage of perpetrators openly. This approach prevents the risk of populist narratives claiming ownership of this history. The “Houses of Darkness” initiative leverages memorial sites as platforms for broadening and debating perpetrator perspectives. By examining the responsibilities for past war crimes, we also engage in critical discussions about how our current choices and actions as individuals and societies shape our world.

Target Groups

High school students


Four hour workshop

Language(s) of the project

Norwegian English

The Commanders House, The Falstad Centre © Oliver Edwards