CALL FOR PAPERS & PARTICIPANTS – Two Working Groups on “Descendants of Victims of Nazi Persecution”

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POSTED TO H-HOLOCAUST  by Adina Dymczyk Thursday, November 9, 2017 cc H-ANTISEMITISM by Yo Menashe November 11 2017


The Federal Association Information and Advice for Survivors of Nazi Persecution (Bundesverband Information & Beratung für NS-Verfolgte e.V.) (Federal Association) is calling for participation in two moderator-led working groups on historico-political education and psychosocial issues, respectively, in relation to the work of and to working with descendants of victims of Nazi persecution.

The two-day working groups will meet on 11/12 April and 7/8 June 2018 in Cologne. The results will be presented to the public on 11 October 2018 and be published (in German, English and Russian) on the Federal Association’s website once the project has been closed.

Both interdisciplinary working groups held concurrently will act as platforms for international researchers and professionals to exchange information on current issues concerning descendants of victims of Nazi persecution. We invite experts and committed individuals who have been investigating the issue of “descendants of victims” to participate in the working groups that aim to provide opportunity to share information on fields of work and discuss ways of cooperation. We intend to join efforts in order to develop and discuss new ideas, giving research and practice new impetus.

Forms and effects of passing on the traumatic experience of Nazi persecution within families have been the subject of debate for some time now. The descendants themselves do experience this transmission; yet, there is some controversy whether it is taking place in a particular form. Together with their parents, descendants of survivors have significantly shaped the reappraisal of National Socialism. Descendants of victims talk about Nazi crimes and their links to current forms of group-focused enmity in schools, at panel discussions, in old and new media, at memorials or on guided city tours. We want to examine in how far their present work could inspire future activity.
At the same time, descendants of victims of Nazi persecution have socio-psychological needs. There are different views on whether social continuities after 1945 and current discrimination issues play an important role in reappraising and coming to terms with the past. In this context, one should keep in mind what effects and impact the persecution has (had) on families, the children of the persecuted and on subsequent generations. It would be interesting to look at and compare continuities after 1945 and their effects on the intra-family transmission of persecution exposure at an international level. Another relevant question would be what course future remembrance work may take.

If you are interested in participating, please click on the respective link to view the Call for Papers for the appropriate working group:

Working group on “Psychosocial Issues” (Code: AG 1)

Working group on “Historico-Political Education” (Code: AG 2)

Please send an (1) abstract (max 3000 characters) as well as a (2) short bio (max 1000 characters) as PDF no later than 5 January to one of the following e-mail addresses, indicating which working group you would like to participate in (AG 1 or AG 2):; Speeches in one official language (German/English) are simultaneously interpreted into the other official languages. Within two weeks after the submission deadline the moderators will decide who is going to be invited to take part in the working groups. This decision is based on criteria such as internationality and diversity of approaches.
The Federal Association Information and Advice for Survivors of Nazi Persecution will cover travel and accommodation costs, provided that the German Travel Expense Law (Bundesreisekostengesetz) is complied with.

We are looking forward to your active participation.

AG 1 - Call for Papers:

Call for Participation: Working Group on Psychosocial Issues

Experiences, biographies as well as challenges of descendants of victims of Nazi persecution have become the subject of increased debate among experts. This working group sets out to promote international and interdisciplinary networking regarding psychosocial work in order to establish common issues and name differences in a coordinated manner. Up to now, there has been little international exchange on psychosocial aspects and needs of subsequent generations in different countries and on what role the cultural and national context plays in dealing with descendants and in their coming-to-terms with the past. We aim to overcome this deficit and to invite researchers and psychosocial workers (e.g. social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, educationists, nursing staff) to be part of this working group. We want to do our part in the reappraisal of this genocide of unprecedented proportions and its aftermath from a multi-generational perspective. This includes addressing practical aspects and issues often overlooked in theoretical debate. This is why we want to encourage exchange on how immediate descendants of victims and subsequent generations are affected by the persecution suffered by their ancestors.

In the late 1950s, the specialised psychosocial and medical public started looking into the effects of Nazi persecution, often discussing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and their impact on descendants of victims (i.e. their children, yet also subsequent generations). Recent scientific research refers to the possibility of transgenerational transmission of trauma through epigenetic mechanisms. We wish to discuss various approaches within an international and interdisciplinary working group.

Those interested in participating in this working group are invited to submit an abstract (max 3000 characters) addressing one or several of the questions listed below, accompanied by a brief bio.

•    Do descendants of victims of Nazi persecution share specific symptoms or patterns?
•    What role does trauma transmission play?
•    Are there any specific epigenetic patterns to families with a background of Nazi persecution?
•    Are there any accumulations of psychiatric and psychosomatic diseases?
•    Are there any current psychosocial needs?
•    What resilience factors help prevent or limit negative trauma effects?

•    In how far are offers and experiences from working with the first generation accessible to affected descendants of victims?
•    What offers or approaches from psychosocial work may be transferred and adapted?
•    Which groups of affected individuals have been overlooked?

•    Are there any specific victim/perpetrator constellations in subsequent generations?
•    What about particular sub-groups, e.g. individuals of subsequent generations that shamefully hide their descent from the union between victims and perpetrators?

•    What special competences, experiences and resources do members of subsequent generations have? What are the challenges of resource activation approaches?

•    Is there any present discrimination as return of the repressed?

Moreover, we encourage addressing questions not listed here or questions debating the issue further.


AG 2 - Call for Papers:

Call for Participation: Working Group on Historico-Political Education

This working group encourages scientific exchanges between international experts and professionals. It would be desirable to pool and combine available knowledge and identify methods to use descendants’ knowledge for historico-political education. Key points would be to review exemplary projects of remembrance culture or memorial education projects as well as to promote intergenerational dialogue.

A point worth considering would be what specific momentum descendants of victims of Nazi persecution may provide. To this end, it must be clarified what research has already been conducted in this field and what conclusions may be drawn for the future.

Immediately after the Second World War, many survivors of Nazi persecution engaged in active remembrance work. In the 1970s at the latest, descendants of victims (the subsequent generations) began significantly shaping the political and social reappraisal of National Socialist tyranny. Drawing on their specific knowledge, they have written books, made films and created art projects. The subsequent generations deal with the effects of the persecution suffered by their parents or grandparents and thus draw conclusions from the past to politically shape our present society.
Worldwide, descendants of victims have contributed to educational projects either as individuals or as part of organizations, drawing on their own coming-to-terms with Nazi history.

The notion of trauma and theories on transgenerational transmission of history can be made available for use in research and historico-political education. This includes the interaction between private and public remembrance culture, contemporary as well as national, European and international contexts. The aim is to work on historico-political education approaches considerate of the experience of those persecuted to inspire scientific and socio-political debate.

If you are engaged e.g. in historico-political education regarding victim groups of National Socialism or deal with the topics described from a historical, sociological or anthropological perspective, you are invited to participate in this working group. Historico-political education often looks at individual persecution backgrounds and compares them. The Federal Association wishes to encourage the exchange on differences and commonalities of these perspectives.

Those interested in participating in this working group are invited to submit an abstract (max 3000 characters) addressing one or several of the questions listed below, accompanied by a brief bio.

•    What concepts have descendants of victims of Nazi persecution developed to come to terms with the past? Are there any differences between countries?
•    What research on historico-political education has been developed and conducted by subsequent generations?
•    What role do subsequent generations play in institutional historico-political education?
•    What is their current contribution to the politics of remembrance – where may or should descendants act as initiators?
•    In how far are country-specific and family-biographical approaches taken into account in creating educational opportunities?

•    In how far may the perspective of the victims be integrated into historico-political education?
•    What transmission contexts need to be considered depending on the individual persecuted groups?
•    What challenges does the cooperation between descendants of victims and unaffected individual present?  

•    What possible developments does historico-political education work offer?
•    What momentum may descendants of victims give to future European or global remembrance work?
•    What historical contexts of remembrance and compensation culture after 1945 need to be considered?
•    What links do exist between public and private remembrance, between remembrance work and anti-discrimination?


Moreover, we encourage addressing questions not listed here or questions debating the issue further.

Further information can be found here:


The project is funded by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) and the Federal Foreign Office.

In cooperation with:

Association of Jewish Refugees
Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste e. V. / Action Reconciliation Service for Peace
AMCHA Deutschland / AMCHA Germany
Arbeitskreis für Intergenerationelle Folgen des Holocaust – ehem. PAKH e.V.
Fundacji Polsko-Niemieckie Pojednanie / Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation
Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie e. V.
JDC- Israel Eshel
KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau / Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme / Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial
Synagogen-Gemeinde Köln
Živá paměť



Adina Dymczyk und Thorsten Fehlberg
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51063 Köln
Tel.  +49 (0)221 17 92 94 0
Fax.  +49 (0)221 17 92 94 29