Workshop: Muliperspectivity in Challenging Times

February 12-14, 2024

The fourth and last in-person-meeting of the MuRem-Network took place in Vienna from February 12th to February 14th, 2024. Our program provided insights into the Austrian memory discourses and multiperspective Holocaust remembrance projects, and space for dialogue on the topics and questions that have challenged us at previous events and/or have remained open. In collaboration with our Austrian partners, we have curated a program that will enable us to engage in an in-depth exchange on the following topics: remembrance of persecution of homosexuals and Roma and Sinti, remembrance in diverse societies, resistance and collaboration in collective memory, museum representations of genocide, war and peace. We decided to put a focus on these topics as they accompanied us through the previous project events, thereby giving the chance to continue and wrap-up the discussions. We also used our final in-person MuRem meeting to reflect on the joint MuRem workshops, draw conclusions, collect questions and discuss possibilities for future cooperations.

Day 1, February 12th: The workshop began with an introduction round of the MuRem-Network partners and a welcome by the project team and the OeAD (Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation) which hosted the event in their rooms in Vienna. A keynote by Ljiljana Radonic from the Austrian Academy of Sciences on “Museum representations of genocide and war in comparison, politics of remembrance in East-Central and South-East Europe” gave insights into different regional collective memory discourses, setting the stage for subsequent discussions. Afterwards, we visited the special exhibition of the Jewish Museum Vienna about “Peace” which was created initially as a reaction to the Russian war against Ukraine, and opened its doors shortly after the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7th, 2023, and the start of the Israel-Gaza-War which is still ongoing. The participants had the chance to talk to the curators and educators of the exhibition. The visit also served as a starting point to discuss the impact the terrorist attack and the war had and have on the educational work of the participants in different European places.

Day 2, February 13th: In the morning of the second day, two parallel workshops offered the chance delve into certain topics and wrap up discussions on issues that emerged as crucial in the previous events in Berlin, Warsaw and Rome.

1)       Cultures of Remembrance in diverse societies

This workshop, hosted by Tanja Lenuweit (Minor) and Aya Zarfati (House of the Wannsee Conference) explored Holocaust education within a diverse society, using the project Connect as a case study. We discussed, how educational formats should be designed to pursue an anti-racist and anti-Semitic approach that avoids creating an ‘us vs. them’ dichotomy and remains equally relevant to both immigrants and non-immigrants. The participants exchanged about their fears and concerns, and the pitfalls.

2)       Resistance and collective memory

This workshop, hosted by Robert Obermair (OeAD, ERINNERN:AT Salzburg) and Anna Hampel (Minor) traced both the history of resistance against the National Socialist regime in Austria as well as Austria’s dealing with her past after 1945. Based on the Austrian case and the individual national backgrounds of participants, the workshop engaged participants in a comparative discussion about regional specifics as well as similarities regarding this issues at hand as well as how to deal with them in educational settings. The workshop picked up debates we had in Rome and Warsaw regarding the remembrance of resistance against and collaboration with the Nazi forces during World War II, and especially in the Holocaust.

The afternoon of this second workshop day was dedicated to questions of remembrance of different groups who were persecuted by the Nazis and still face discrimination today. Therefore, we took a city walk tour offered by the Vienna organization “QWIEN” with a focus on queer life in Vienna in the first half of the 20th century, the Nazi persecution of homosexuals and the queer community’s fight for recognition since 1945. Afterwards, we discussed the remembrance of the genocide committed against European Roma and Sinti during the National Socialist era in a workshop hosted by Patrick Siegele (ERINNERN:AT) and Mirjam Karoly (Romano Centro) who also presented educational materials.

Day 3, February 14th: The final day featured an open space for the Murem network members to discuss questions and topics that came up during the MuRem events and still needed space to discuss in small groups. Another goal of the open space was to find ways of cooperation within the network after the project end. The workshop concluded with a final round of discussions, feedback, and an outlook for future collaboration.

Participants at the workshops during Ljiljana Radonić’s key note speech, Vienna 2024 © Minor

MuRem workshop participants visiting and discussing a special exhibition of the Jewish Museum Vienna about “Peace”, 2024 © Minor

MuRem workshop participants visiting and discussing a special exhibition of the Jewish Museum Vienna about “Peace”, 2024 © Minor

Participants of the MuRem Workshop in Vienna at a city tour about the history of Nazi persecution of homosexuals, 2024 © Minor

Participants of the MuRem Workshop in Vienna at a city tour about the history of Nazi persecution of homosexuals, 2024 © Minor