History begins in the family, photo from the project as of 2017-2018 for the header

History begins in the family: Dialogue of Generations

International cultural and educational program for youth

International cultural and educational program for youth from Ukraine, Poland and Germany. Through the study of family history, participants have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the years 1933 to 1945, which were largely shaped by the period of National Socialism, Stalinism and the Second World War. Participants also deal with the post-war years, they reflect on places of remembrance and its role in the national cultural context and establish international dialogue.

The project includes visits of young people to the three countries in order to learn and share their experience. The first project edition took place in 2015-2016. The second took place in 2017-2018. In 2020, due to the challenges of coronavirus pandemics, the team decided to run an online programme with a hope to renew trips within next years.

Project goals:

  • to establish a platform for international dialogue through exchanging of knowledge about the history of Germany, Poland and Ukraine with special attention to National Socialism, Stalinism, Second World War and the post-war years;
  • to expand the understanding of National Socialism and Stalinism through visits to different places of remembrance, as well as collective, family and personal memories;
  • to provide knowledge on Oral History and tools for gaining skills in family history research and public presentation of the results;
  • to support trusted connections and cooperation inside of families, communities, representatives of different nationalities.

During the programme, participants explore how historical consciousness and family memory are being formed, they master techniques in conducting oral interviews, they practice how to use digital technologies in elaborating materials. Special programme elements are visits to Bergen-Belsen Memorial (Nazi POW camp and concentration camp 1940-1945) in Germany, to Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum (Nazi concentration and extermination camp 1940-1945) in Poland and different places of remembrance in Lviv/Ukraine, as well as meetings conversations with witnesses. Through family stories they explore how different generations of Poles, Germans, and Ukrainians remember the past, and how a dialogue between generations and between countries is being conducted. In addition, they share information and experiences obtained during the family history research. 

All outcomes are presented on the website

We invite young people aged between 18-26 who are:

  • want to meet and exchange with peers in other countries 
  • interested in the history of National Socialism, Stalinism and Second World War, as well as the public and cultural memory of these events;
  • want to conduct research on the topic of their own families during the years 1933-1945 and in the postwar years, and who are want to share the collected memories of these events in the group;
  • want to take part in a common Polish-German-Ukrainian project, the results of which are to be documented and shared publicly;
  • ready to take part in all program stages;
  • understand English well.

The common working language is English. During all seminars language facilitators will be present who translate on demand from English to Polish / Ukrainian / German or from Polish / Ukrainian / German to English.

Participation in the project is free of charge. The number of participants is limited. The organizers hold a competition based on the application forms responses.

Detailed information about participation:

The project is being developed by the International non-governmental organization "Foundations for Freedom" as a part of the "Ukraine Action: Healing the Past Programme” (Ukraine), the International Youth Meeting Center Oświęcim (Poland) and Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation/Bergen-Belsen Memorial (Germany). 


Foundations for FreedomUkrainian Action: Healing the Past Programme 
Oleh Ovcharenko, Liudmyla Levcheniuk, coordinators in Ukraine 
Tel. +380 67 276 8826

International Youth Meeting Centre in Oświęcim/Auschwitz
Elżbieta Pasternak, coordinator in Poland
Tel. +48 33 8432107

Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation/Bergen-Belsen Memorial
Daniel Tonn, coordinator in Germany
Tel. +49 5051 4759 173

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We are thankful for the financial support of the project in different times to Deutsch-Polnisches Jugendwerk (German-Polish Youth Office), Auswärtiges Amt (German Federal Foreign Office)Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Warsaw and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Representation in Ukraine and Belarus, the Irene Prestige Old Foundation (UK), the German Embassy in Ukraine and the PAUCI Foundation.


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