Gymnasium Leibniz project from Essen

Students of Leibnitz Gymnasium from Essen with the project “Against Forgetting” at the Center for Dialogue and Prayer on February 4-8.02.2024.

A group of 35 young people from the Leibnitz Gymnasium in Essen took part in a study trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. This visit to the Memorial Site is part of the course entitled “Against Forgetting” organized at this school by teachers of history, Catholic and Protestant religion and philosophy. The motivation to carry out this project at the Gymnasium was setting an example of tolerance and actions for peace in the student community, which is multicultural.

An important point of the program is a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, but also discussions and reflections after the tour. After visiting the Memorial Site, young people participated in workshops at the Center for Dialogue and Prayer, organized by their teachers. The aim of this activity conducted in four groups was to enable each student to find a way to express themselves, to be able to deal with the impressions, feelings and thoughts that appeared in their heads during this visit, but also to help them stop in certain places to explore what they felt and thought.

The task of the students of the first group was to reflect on the visit to the Memorial Site. Together, the students sketched the outline of the Auschwitz concentration camp and wrote down their thoughts and feelings on the cut-outs and placed them in the places where these thoughts appeared. The next two workshops were about expressing your feelings and thoughts using words, e.g. a poem and a picture, in this case a collage. In the fourth group, participants had the opportunity to exchange feelings and thoughts that were written down on a paper cloud, and as a result of this work a large collection of thoughts was created.

As part of the program in Oświęcim, the group visited national exhibitions at the former main camp and participated in a meeting with a former Auschwitz prisoner, Mrs. Zdzisława Włodarczyk. The travel itinerary also included Krakow with its history and monuments, together with the former Jewish district of Kazimierz.