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A personal approach to the history of WWI

Fifteen young people from ten different countries enrolled in the workshop “Your World War One Story” during the HistoryCampus Europe 14/14 in Berlin which will start today, May 7th.

Ineke Veldhuis Meester from the Netherlands is one of the workshop leaders and, as an Ambassador of EUROCLIO (European Association of History Educators), has worked with international groups before. Her group used the Young History Forum platform to introduce themselves to each other, to talk about their motivation to participate and about their background.

Ineke is delighted to read about the mixed background of the participants. “This big diversity of origin will be such an asset for our workshop and essential for the development of a critical understanding of the culture of memory”, she says. “The grandparents or great-grandparents fought on different fronts, on different sides. This multicultural context brings an opportunity for an exchange of the countries’ main narratives of the Great War, a dialogue about the existing different perspectives and on what to remember today and in the future.”

Ruben from Germany is one of the participants. His great-grandfather Georg was garrisoned in Istanbul (then called Constantinople) when he was eighteen years old. After returning to Germany he wrote down his experiences and impressions. Ruben will be happy to share his great-grandfather’s story with the other participants.

Julia from Italy also has an interesting story to tell. Her German great-grandfather fought in the Great War but her grandfather and his family had to leave Germany during the Second World War because of racial conflicts. Julia then was born in Argentina but moved to Italy some years ago.

These are just two stories that participants of the workshop will hear about. Eventually, they will work individually or in small groups on the development of their own story of the First World War focussing on what they think should be remembered in 2018. Based on reflections, discussions and experiences during the workshop, participants will choose different formats for presenting their personal approaches to the history of World War One.