Digital archive on refugeedom in past and present

We Refugees Archive, Minor – Projektkontor für Bildung und Forschung

Content / Topics:

We Refugees Archive is a growing digital archive on refugeedom in the past and present. It focuses on individual experiences and the microcosm of the city as a place of refuge and new beginnings.

Archive with educational approaches

The archive spans an arc from historical to current experiences of flight, which are brought into dialogue and thus provide new connecting lines and explanatory approaches from and with refugee voices for European and international remembrance and education policy.  Through the interweaving of past and present, We Refugees Archive gets to the bottom of these projections and questions familiar lines of connection and division in order to stimulate a new narrative about refugeedom.

The focus of the historical documents is on the self-testimonies of people who sought to escape Nazi persecution by fleeing (within and out of Europe), among them predominantly Jews. The current section is devoted to a spectrum of the most varied flight movements of recent decades (mainly to Europe). This archival core is enriched with filmic approaches to refugeedom and contextualized by scholarly discussions, interviews with experts and academic guest contributions on relevant questions in the field of flight migration and/or regarding the specific examples of cities of refuge. As an analogous addition to the We Refugees Archive, a successively growing curated collection of selected documents from the archive is being created, which serves as a support for educational work on historical and current experiences of flight.

The archive focuses on selected cities of refuge, which in the past and present have had a special position as refuges: as places of resistance against national exclusion policies, as microcosms in which visions and structures for an open urban community and a common future are created.

In January 2019, the project started with Vilnius and Palermo as historical and contemporary cities of refuge. From 2020, further cities of refuge in the past and present followed, including Berlin, Paris, Istanbul and New York.

The We Refugees Archive sees itself as a digital education center. Based on the archive of self-testimonies of refugees, educational modules, workshops and online exhibitions are offered for historical and civic education and remembrance work.

The use of an archive also does not follow definable rules, which in itself holds a perpetual potential for knowledge. With this in mind, We Refugees Archive tries to give users a new, emphatic and associative access to the complex of past and present lives as refugees, and refrains from strict instructions for use.

We offer educational modules, a collection of self-testimonies and workshops that deal with the archive’s offerings and reflect on topics transhistorically.You can create your own booksmarks for your educational work or use the offered ones.

The archival materials can be used in digital and analogue form for the historical-political remembrance and educational work of museums, memorials, schools, universities and other institutions.

Target groups: Multipliers of education and remembrance work, general public, students and researchers

Method / Format: Digital archive (incl. oral history, self testimonies, short movies, educational methods, online exhibition)

Language(s): German, English, other languages