Educational trips with young people with different historical and geographical focus points

Core features of the practice

  • Organisation:

    Institution name: Memorial and Educational Site House of the Wannsee Conference
    Institution URL:
  • Format:

  • Target population:

    Students, Young people, Other
  • Cost (per practice):

    Not applicable
  • Setting:

    Your institution, Other institution, Designated extra-mural memorial or historical site
  • Themes:

    Remembrance education and/or history education, Citizenship/democracy education, Antisemitism, Human rights/discrimination, The Holocaust and/or other genocides
  • Core activities:

    Group work, Group discussion, Written activity, Lecture, Testimonial

Additional information about the practice

    Target population

  • Number of participants:

    Up to 14
  • Age of target population:

  • Additional specifics:

    National/local specifities (e.g. activity targeted to Swedish school students), Educationally and socially disadvantaged groups:, we keep participation fee low, in order to enable pupils from all strata to participate. If still too high for some pupils, we apply for additional funds., Other:, The target group is both pupils from „academic high schools" (Gymnasium) and from so called „ educationally and socially disadvantaged" schools, aimed for the 9th-12th grade.
  • Components of the practice

  • Topics and objectives:

    Since 2009, we conceptualise and organise study trips for pupils (and teachers) on different topics related to National Socialism and the Holocaust - each time „zooming in" to a different region/ country, and looking at other historical events and their aftermath. The topic is closely linked to the geographical focus (e.g. Greece – Antisemitism and right wing extremism in Germany and Greece today). In 2011 in France, we primarily dealt with Jewish immigrants fleeing Germany in the 1930s, but also with other layers of history. Next to Mémorial de la Shoah, Drancy, Rivesaltes and crossing the Pyrenees to Portbou, we also dealt with the situation of refugees and migrants in France today and with Spanish Republicans who fled to France during the civil war. Similar projects were done in Poland (following the routs of deported pupils during National-Socialism from Berlin to the Lublin District); in Kosovo; in Italy, in Turkey, in Israel and in the Netherlands. The activities change according to the topic chosen and include an encounter with people (especially other youngsters) from the society at focus. When possible (financially and otherwise), a reciprocal visit to Berlin is organised. The study trips last a max. of 10 days. With preparatory and follow up meetings, the project can last up to a year.
  • Materials used:

    Written or other published material, Material culture, i.e., physical object or setting, tours to historical sites.
  • Material produced:

    Written material, Audiovisual material, An important component is a „product", be it a film, an exhibition or brochures which the group works on together. A memorial in the school was also designed ans inaugurated.
  • Sequence of activities - methodology:

    The strength of the project lies within the long-term work with the participants, which allows them to actively influence (some) of the contents of trip/ preparation/ follow-up, but also in the combination of historical and remembrance education and encounter pedagogy. The long term work enables educators to try different methods and use them interchangeably. The process of reflection on history starts already with the application for the project, in which participants are asked to address their personal motivation to deal with this specific history. They are asked to continue the process of reflection throughout the project, be it by filling out in turns a travel diary (they are not limited to writing their experiences, and can also draw or write poems) During the trip, time slots are carefully saved for self processing of the content, but also for „group rounds" in which the group can process contents together, with the help of methods of Gestaltpädagogik. These program units also help the educational staff to assess and evaluate the program. Another important method is that of pedagogy of recognition (Pädagogik der Anerkennung), meaning that the biographies and different perspectives on history of the participants themselves are always given room and taking into account.
  • Length of activity:

    More than 15 hours
  • Is the activity digital?:

  • Accessibility and replicability

  • Language(s) in which activity can be delivered:

    English, French, German, Spanish, Other
  • Is specialist knowledge or professional training required?:

  • If yes, which type?:

    Other, Staff members of the memorial, as well as freelance educators when the specific topic of the project matches their expertise and/ or language skills.

Qualitative Details

  • Has this practice been evaluated?

  • How many times?:

  • By whom?:

    Participants, Instructor delivering the practice
  • By what means?:

    Informal verbal feedback, Qualitative written feedback, two trips were evaluated in a phd. The pupils write a journey diary during the trip and a written essay to a concrete leading question at the end of the trip.
  • Core content knowledge and transferable skills:

    Connecting history with concrete places helps them understand the European dimension of National-Socialism- They also learn that there is no „one history" or one perspective on history. Next to acquired knowledge, they also learn to look critically on the way history is told and focus on the continuity of questions in past and present situations. Due to the long time working together it is also possible to relate history with the present without trivialising or equating the phenomena.
  • Indicators of success:

    We consider our study trips as good practice for several reasons: the number of trips conducted and the repeating demand to carry out such projects. the data/feedback collected by us from participants and teachers during the projects themselves and in follow-up meetings feedback from parents of participants long standing contact with former participants, who continue to be engaged in the field of remembrance discourse. A number of participants in our projects decided to do voluntary service after finishing high school - some specifically in an organisation we cooperate with (Action Reconciliation for Peace). We currently have freelance guides and interns who participated in such programs and turned to us at a later stage asking to be involved with the educational work of the house. One of them will be guiding this summer's study trip, following the Italian partisans. These projects enable the educators to better understand the questions and necessities of the participants. The risk of getting a wrong impression during a short-term program, is very high.
  • Educational coordinator contact details:

    Name: Dr. Elke Gryglewski
    Email address:


The RETHINK project is concerned with bridging formal and informal education. This section explores the factors that make a practice adaptable.

  • Key factors for successful implementation:

    Subject expertise of presenter/instructor
  • Main challenges to teachers adapting this practice for their students:

    The attitude of the accompanying teacher is important. Negotiations with teachers and headmasters not to treat these projects as a „normal school" trip. The project lives e.g. from negotiating with the youngsters on how they want to be treated and how they are willing to behave. Trust in the youngsters: allow them to go through their learning process, not pushing them to specific results from the very beginning. Allow oneself to be surprised. What makes it difficult for a teacher to carry out such a project alone is that the pupils automatically will connect the project to daily school life. Finally, it might be hard for teachers to get the specific knowledge needed for each country and lacks of the institutional-connections needed.
  • Availability of guidance/training/replication materials (and in what language/format currently):

    The material for every trip and every group is being developed specifically. So there is actually no material that can be handed out to other groups. It is possible to look at the results (diaries, films, exhibitions etc.) and we will be willing to translate the booklet we published in German on the trip to France and Spain into English.
  • Other comments or details:

    Feel free to contact us if you have more questions!