The participants’ exchange of thoughts with one another forms the core of a visit to the memorial. Photo: Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial

Educational supervision of school groups of the ninth form and higher

The memorial offers supervision for school groups of the ninth form and higher. Educational supervision by members of the memorial staff not only serves the purpose of conveying information but is also intended to support the young people in processing the visit to the former concentration camp emotionally and cognitively.
A visit to a memorial is not like an “ordinary” visit to a museum, but an emotional borderline experience whose impact on young people is often underestimated. What is more, it makes high demands not only on the visitors’ emotions, but also on their cognitive faculty.

Reflection on the crimes committed by the Nazis requires a degree of abstraction that can only be achieved from a certain age onward. Younger pupils are usually not capable of grasping the bureaucratic organization of mass murder and the complex structure of forced concentration camp labour on the analytical level. They do not yet have the imperatively necessary basic knowledge of history at their disposal, and cannot properly assess all they see and feel at the memorial.

The aim of a visit to the memorial is not to affirm popular images of historical events or to cause general dismay, but to question supposed certainties and thus trigger thought and reflection about history and the present in each individual visitor.