Bridging Generations

Bridging Generations is an eighteen-month-long project (October, 2014 – March, 2016) taking place within the framework of the Europe for Citizens Programme, under Strand 1: European Remembrance. The project seeks to raise awareness on Remembrance, Common History and European Values. It also seeks to promote European citizenship by bridging the gap between generations and involving them in an intergenerational and intercultural dialogue. The main focus is on the memories of senior citizens from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland who lived during and after WWII. Their stories are being collected in order to appreciate the role of collective memories in achieving a mutual understanding and cultural diversity. Using the method of Biographical Narrative the impact of WWII on shaping national identities in Europe and the commemoration of the victims of war are being examined and discussed.

European citizens cannot forget their histories and cultural traditions and as a result, they cannot escape from them. Through the Bridging Generations project senior European citizens are asked to share their stories with the younger generations so that they can learn about the aftermath of war and specifically of WWII through personal experiences and collective memories. Collective memory includes critical aspects of political culture, community traditions, and social identity. It informs our understanding of past events and present relationships, as well as contributing to our expectations about the future. And this is what Bridging Generations aspires to do; build a better future for Europe. By recording and sharing the life experiences of senior citizens, a common platform is created which connects the citizens from different countries. In this way their messages and experiences are passed on to younger generations who are further removed from the trauma of The War. Young people therefore become aware of the impact of the totalitarian regimes and of wars. As Maurice Halbwachs, a French sociologist and philosopher said, “Memories are passed through society via verbal exchange, and if the way of recollecting the past is through silence, then this is also transmitted, and becomes a mode of remembrance in itself”.

The project involves European citizens from 3 different age groups; young people up to 30 years old (students and professionals), adults between 30 and 65 years old (film makers, sociologists, project managers, culture managers, historians, artists, art educators, policy makers, researchers and professors) and senior citizens (65+) from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland.

The project includes 5 meetings with the first meeting taking place in November 2014. Representatives of the partner organisations gather to plan their schedule and their respective contributions to the ‘Bridging Generations’ project. The second meeting is held from the 11th to the 15th of February, 2015 on the anniversary of Dresden’s bombing in 1945 and the celebration of the 70 years of peace since the end of WWII. From the 26th to the 29th of May, 2015 the third international meeting is to take place in Wroclaw and Olesnica, Poland (video). From the 28th to the 31st of October, 2015 the fourth international meeting is being held in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The main activities of the project are workshops on biographical narrative, interviews and visits to places of remembrance, including monuments commemorating victims and historical museums. Commemoration events, art exhibitions, performances and discussions on Europe's future and sustainability also form the study-visit trip to Thessaloniki. The experience and knowledge gained through the project will be presented in the final event of the project in the form of a conference from the 13th to the 15th of February 2016 in Dresden, Germany which will include cultural events such as an intergenerational performance, an art exhibition and a concert.

Events overview:

  1. Kick-off Meeting in Dresden, Germany: 14-16/11/2014
  2. Work meeting and conference in Dresden, Germany: 11-15/02/2015
  3. Study visit in Wroclaw, Poland: 26-29/05/2015
  4. Study visit/ Research meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece: 28-31/10/2015
  5. Conference, exhibition & performance in Dresden, Germany: 12-15/02/2016

Participating countries: Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Germany

This project is organised in cooperation with IG 13. Februar e.V. and the Department of European and International Affairs of the Municipality of Dresden and is funded by the European programme Europe for Citizens, the European and International Affairs Division of Dresden and the Local Acting Programme for Democracy and Tolerance.

This project is under the patronage of the mayor of Dresden, Helma Orosz.

Video for the Dresden conference 14.02.2015

Video for the Thessaloniki event 28.-31.10.2015

EACEA Final Template All Events Bridging Generations

 

5 events have been carried out within this project:

Event No. 1: Kick off meeting (preparatory activity) in Dresden

Participation:

The event involved 15 citizens from 5 countries, including:

7 participants from the city of Dresden, Germany

4 participants from the city of Thessaloniki, Greece

2 participants from the town of Kistarcsa, Hungary

1 participant from the city of Bologna, Italy

1 participant from the city of Oleśnica, Poland

 

Location / Dates:

The event took place in Dresden, Germany, from 14/11/2014 to 16/11/2014

 

Short description:

Kick off meeting was in the frame of preparatory activities. It served for developing professional relationships between partner organizations, operate in different parts of Europe. Within the framework of the preparatory activities the methodology for the implementation of the project was development. This kind of collaborative network is important to sustain and scale up the long-term impact of the project.

The participants discussed according to the agenda, the overview of the project, the detailed presentation of activities and the break-down of responsibilities per partner, the financial conditions and the communication strategy. They determine key elements of the project, set up standards for facilitating the meetings/events and elaborate expected follow up.

Project partners identified the communities to work with during the project, they were crafting action plans, including the setup of timelines for key milestones and implementation details that will frame and guide the next 18 months of activity.

Partners set up standards for facilitating the meetings, organize data collection and elaborate expected follow up. Partners set up a Steering Committee and a Professional Research team.

 

Event No. 2: Conference and Meeting “Gedenken in Dresden”

Participation:

The event involved 213 citizens from 11 countries, including:

194 participants from the city of Dresden, Germany

4 participants from the city of Thessaloniki, Greece

4 participants from the town of Kistarcsa, Hungary

2 participants from the city of Bologna, Italy

1 participant from the city of Oleśnica, Poland

1 participant from the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic

1 participant from the city of Florence, Italy

1 participant from the city of Skopje, FYROM

1 participant from the city of Wroclaw, Poland

2 participants from the city of Coventry, UK

1 participant from the city of Osaka, Japan

1 participant from the city of Cleveland, USA

 

Location / Dates:

The event took place in Dresden, Germany, from 11/02/2015 to 15/02/2015

 

Short description:

Historical overview of WWII, the Bombing of Dresden (13-15 February 1945) through debates, discussions and reflection meetings.


Thursday 12 February 2015

  • Visit to the Military History Museum - history of WWII and the role of Germany.

  • Participation in the "Meeting of European Citizens" coordinated by Matthias Neutzner where representatives of twin cities of Dresden were present (Coventry, Wroclaw, Skopje, Florence etc.) at Mauersberger Hall, Gemeindehaus of Kreuzkirche


Friday 13 February 2015

  • Joining the “Meeting of Generations - Places of Peace” organised by the association IG 13 Februar at Dreikönigskirche.

  • Remembrance ceremony with reference to the deportation of the Jews of Dresden, the military history of the place and the events at the site in connection with the bombing in 1945.

  • Visit to the victims' tombs of Dresden's bombings at Heidefriedhof, Remembrance ceremony „Places of Peace“.

  • Taking part in the commemoration of the bombing of Dresden and the "Menschenkette", the so-called „Human Chain“.


Saturday 14 February 2015

  • Workshop on "Collective memories and the biographical narrative method" led by Prof. Pavlos Pantazis and Maya Tsamprou (Department of Film Studies, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).

  • International Conference "Gedenken in Dresden" organised by Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. and moderated by Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi:

  • Speeches, lectures, presentations on the following topics:

  • "Experience, Narration, Symbol and Legend. The 13th of February in Dresden" by Prof. Dr. Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, Sociology and History of Culture, TU Dresden;

  • "Cultures of Remembrance and their Media. Dresden 1945 as an example" by Matthias Neutzner, Founder and Organizer of IG 13 February;

  • "The culture of remembrance in Thessaloniki, Greece" by Prof. Pavlos Pantazis, Film Studies Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki;

  • "Art and War" by Prof. Xenofon Sachinis, Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki;

  • "The culture of remembrance in Wroclaw, Poland" by Piotr Michalowski, Culture Manager of the Culture Centre of Olesnica, Poland;

  • "The culture of remembrance in Kistarcsa, Hungary" by Ferenc Vass, Representative of the Municipality of Kistarcsa;

  • "The culture of remembrance in Bologna, Italy" by Micaela Merli, Representative of the International Relations Department of the Municipality of Bologna;

  • "The culture of remembrance in Coventry, United Kingdom" by James Joel Dann, Reporter.

  • Round table discussions on:

  • Memory and Identity, coordinated by Prof. Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (TU Dresden, Institute for Sociology),

  • Memory and Art & Literature, coordinated by Prof. Xenofon Sachinis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and by Prof. Susanne Vees-Gulani (Case Western Reserve University – USA),

  • Memory and Symbols, coordinated by the Historian and Reseacher, Matthias Neutzner,

  • Memory and commemoration through the method of biographical narrative Coordinated, coordinated by Prof. Pavlos Pantazis & Maya Tsamprou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki),

  • Memory and Politics, coordinated by Prof. Eiichi Kido (University of Ōsaka, Japan),

  • Memory and Peace, coordinated by Prof. Andrew Rigby (Emeritus Professor der Coventry University – GB) at Kulturrathaus Dresden.

  • Audiovisual performance "Different crowds of clamor" by Piotr Michalowski


Sunday 15 February 2015

  • Reflection, discussion and evaluation of the event in Dresden.

  • Planning the following steps and the next event in Poland.

 

Event No. 3: Study Visit in Olesnica and Wroclaw

Participation:

The event involved 50 citizens from 5 countries, including:

7 participants from the city of Dresden, Germany

3 participants from the city of Thessaloniki, Greece

1 participant from the town of Kistarcsa, Hungary

2 participants from the city of Bologna, Italy

37 participants from the city of Oleśnica, Poland

 

Location / Dates:

The event took place in Olesnica and Wroclaw, Poland, from 26/05/2015 to 29/05/2015

 

Short description:

Historical overview:

  • The Siege of Breslau/Wroclaw

  • Study visit – investigating the Siege’s points of interest, through a city tour in Wroclaw

 

Overview of biographical narrative:

  • Using biographical narrative as a means of historical footprint (review of Activity 1’s workshops)

  • Watching and discussing the videos that showcase the life stories of WWII witnesses produced by all partners

  • Arts & Crafts workshops promoting peace, unity and solidarity


Wednesday 27 May 2015

  • Visiting the Chamber of Memories and presentation about the Community Chamber of Memories and its significance by Monika Malobecka.

  • Workshops in the community of Oleśnica regarding collective memories and projection of a video about the local community of Olesnica and the memories of senior citizens.

  • Visiting the Multifunction Community Building of the village Wszechświęte where arts & crafts workshops promoting intergeneratinal dialogue, peace and solidarity took place.

  • Workshop on biographical narrative and on techniques of using the video camera led by Maya Tsamprou and Professor Pavlos Pantazis.

     

Thursday 28 May 2015

  • Visit to the Center of Artistic Initiatives - Presentation of the CAI, historical overview of the “Siege of Wrocław”

  • Presenting the videos of all partners which showcase the life stories of WWII witnesses from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland.

  • Photo workshops in front of the former German Factory in Wroclaw.

  • Presentation of a music performance of the Independent Dance Manufacture.

  • Round table discussions and conclusion.

  • The siege of Breslau through a sightseeing tour in Wroclaw.


Friday 29 May 2015

  • Evaluation of the event and organising the next steps of the project. Reflection and discussion.

 

Event No. 4: Study Visit and Research in Thessaloniki

Participation:

The event involved 156 citizens from 5 countries, including:

7 participants from the city of Dresden, Germany

138 participants from the city of Thessaloniki, Greece

4 participants from the town of Kistarcsa, Hungary

2 participants from the city of Bologna, Italy

5 participants from the city of Oleśnica, Poland

 

Location / Dates:

The event took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 28/10/2015 to 31/10/2015

 

Short description:

Learning about the entrance of Greece into WWII on the 28th of October 1940 and about the occupation and liberation of Thessaloniki (30 October 1944). The commemoration of the liberation of Thessaloniki for certain reasons is depreciated and therefore the project contributed to the commemoration of this important event through an audiovisual exhibition curated by Manos Malamides and Maya Tsamprou. Moreover, learning about the history and culture of the Sephardic Jews that lived in Thessaloniki (la Madre of Israel) from 1492. During WWII most of the Sephardic Jews of Thessaloniki were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were exterminated.

 

Thursday 29 October 2015:

  • Exploring the Jewish culture and history in Thessaloniki through a tour guided by Dr. Rena Molho [Las campagnas or the Countryside: Jewish villas, Allatini flour factory, Hospital Hirsch, Old Jewish cemetery, and Western Thessaloniki: Old railway station where the Jews were deported from].

  • Visit to the Jewish Museum at the former Jewish district of the city [Monastir Synagogue, Israeli Community Memorial] guided by Dr. Rena Molho.

  • The Sephardic Choir of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki sang Ladino songs at Teloglion Foundation of Arts. All songs had English and Greek subtitles so that the local citizens and the international participants could understand the content of the songs.

  • Documentary screening Kisses to the Children, five ‘Hidden Children’ in Occupied Greece, by Vassilis Loules, 2011, 125’ at Teloglion Foundation of Art


Friday 30 October 2015:

  • Presentation and detailed discussion on the videos produced by the partners at the small auditorium of the Aristotle University.

  • At the same time a Meeting of Academics and Researchers took place coordinated by Pr. Henriette-Rika Benveniste and Pr. Georgios Agelopoulos with a visit to the Shoah foundation.

  • Audiovisual exhibition "Memories: Occupation and Liberation of Thessaloniki", under the kind curation of Malamides Archives, the Preservation of Historical Archives Company 1940-1974, Central and Western Macedonia at the Center of Architecture, Thessaloniki.

  • Poetry on Chortiatis Massacre recited by Mrs. Kirimi Pitsouli at Teloglion Foundation of Arts

  • Documentary screening "The Chronicle of a disaster", on Chortiatis massacre, by Akis Kersanidis and Chrysa Tzelepi, 2013, 90’ at Teloglion Foundation of Arts.

Saturday 31 October 2015

  • Evaluation of the event and organising the next steps of the project. Reflection and discussion.

 

Event No. 5: Conference and Cultural Art Activities
"KUNST des ERINNERNS in Dresden”

Participation:

The event involved 364 citizens from 18 countries, including:

312 participants from the city of Dresden, Germany

6 participants from the city of Thessaloniki, Greece

2 participants from the town of Kistarcsa, Hungary

1 participant from the city of Bologna, Italy

20 participants from the city of Oleśnica, Poland

1 participant from Finland

1 participant from Czech Republic

3 participants from UK

6 participants from Japan

3 participants from USA

2 participants from France

1 participant from Sweden

1 participant from China

1 participant from Belgium

1 participant from Russia

1 participant from Syria

1 participant from Mexico

1 participant from Australia

 

Location / Dates:

The event took place in Dresden, Germany, from 12/02/2016 to 15/02/2016

 

Short description:

All the results and learning outcomes of the "Bridging Generations" project were presented and discussed through a final event on the 14th of February 2016 at Kulturrathaus Dresden.

 

Saturday 13 February 2016

  • Visiting the exhibition of Yadegar Asisi Panorama Dresden 1945 "The Bombing of Dresden in 1945".

  • Citizens' Meeting “Culture of Remembrance” at Mauersberger Hall, in Gemeindehaus of Kreuzkirche with speeches, presentations and round-table discussions regarding the fear of the "other", extremism and racism as well as the aftermath of WWII. Locals and international participants joined discussions and debates.

  • Concert in commemoration of the 13th of February 1945 by the Philarmonic Orchestra of Dresden

  • Commemoration of the bombing of Dresden and Menschenkette“, the so-called „Human Chain".


Sunday 14 February 2016

  • Discussion regarding the "Bridging Generations" project's learning outcomes, results and final products at the meeting room of the City Hall Dresden.

  • Final event: “The Art of Remembrance - Kunst des Errinerns” organised by JKPeV and moderated by Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi and Matthias Neutzner at Kulturrathaus Dresden:

  • Salutation speech by Stefan Kiehne, Chairman of Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. referring to the commemoration of Dresden's bombing but also to the present political situation of Dresden where extremist political movements have evolved in Dresden (PEGIDA movement) and explaining the objectives of the project and its final event.

  • Salutation speech by the the Mayor of Culture, Mrs. Annekatrin Klepsch who highlighted the importance of cultivating the culture of remembrance through education and cultural events like this one.

  • Video projection of the “Bridging Generations” project produced by Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. (created by Olga Yocheva, staff of JKPeV)

  • Art Workshop “Remembering” led by the Artist Susan Donath

  • Intergenerational somatic theatre performance “In each other's tracks” directed by Prof. Jenny Coogan (Palucca Schule) with the group ArtRose Dresden

  • Intergenerational round-table discussions with WWII witnesses "Memories and WWII"

  • Poetry Slam “Messages”

  • Art Exhibition "KAPNOs - the lost reason - by Prof. Sachinis

  • Video projections “Life Stories of WWII witnesses”

  • Intergenerational art workshop "One World" led by school students of Dresden

  • Room-Installation “GRAVUREN -Engravings- the history of Dresden in Nazism and World War II by the Dresden art-group KUNSTPLAN

  • Intergenerational theatre performance “Moments” directed by Ewa Staron (Center of Artistic Initiatives, Wroclaw)

  • Dance performance by school students of Dresden


Monday 15 February 2016

  • Evaluation Meeting & Discussion at City Hall Dresden