The relationship between Georgia and Germany is an excellent one, based on mutual trust and cooperation. This refers to the academic field as well. Numerous collaborations, institutional partnerships and exchange programs have been established over the last decades.
Such a tradition offers the possibility to revisit even difficult phases of history from a contemporary perspective. The politically motivated terror during the early Soviet and Stalin era forms such a phase. Although the ‘red terror’ was characterised by state violence and mass shootings, its history has not been written in full detail yet. Even the location of most mass graves remains unknown.
The reconstruction of the shootings as well as the localisation and examination of the belonging mass graves forms the issue of a project being carried out in Georgia at the moment.
The proceedings of this project raise the serious question of how the mass graves should be dealt with in the future. Which role can and should they play within the frame of national, European or even global cultures of memory? And how to transfer these places of history into places of memory (and mourning) in a responsible and reasonable way?
These questions will be discussed during a Georgian-German summers school to be held this year. 20 students and post-docs (10 from Georgia and Germany each) will meet from 14.-23. September in Georgia to discuss and work with scholars and experts attached to museums, memorial sites, foundations and NGOs. The summer school will result in the formulation of recommendations (accompanied by an action plan) on how to transfer the sites of mass graves into memorial sites. A printed publication will document and disseminate the results of the summer school.
Though today the excellent relations between Georgia and Germany may seem like a natural fact, things have been different not too long ago. During the Second World War, Germany and Georgia (then part of the USSR) fought each other as enemies. The engagement and sacrifices of Georgian soldiers in the Red Army contributed to the defeat of fascist Germany seventy years ago and helped in the re-establishment of peace. The end of the war marked the beginning of a peaceful and fruitful cooperation between Georgia and Germany that both countries benefit from today. The summer school aims to broaden and intensify Georgian-German cooperation on the field of memory studies and practical memorial work. During the summer school, experiences and approaches collected in both countries will be exchanged and future collaborations initiated.
All students and post-docs enrolled at a German or Georgian university eligible for participation. Applicants are expected to have a serious interest in the issue of the summer school, to do some preparatory reading, possibly even preparing a presentation on a related topic.
Common language will be English. Travel costs will be reimbursed. All other participation costs will be covered by the organising institutions.
Students and post-docs interested in participating are kindly asked to send their applications to: ‘email@example.com’. Any questions related to the summer school or your application may be directed to the same address.
Applications should include a cover letter explaining your interest in the summer school as well as curriculum vitae. Texts should be written in English and not exceed 4.000 characters each. Please send your application in a format compatible with MS Word, accompanied by a copy in PDF (if possible).
The summer school forms a cooperation between three German organisations sharing long standing experience in the field of memorial work and coming to terms with the past: DVV International, Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED Diktatur and Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge.
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