Serbia between East and West

Topic and Content:  Visit to Park of Friendship, the only memorial dedicated to Non-Aligned Movement and reflection on political position of the Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Cold War Era

Park of Friendship (Park prijateljstva) is situated in New Belgrade and spreads across 14 hectares that are leaning on banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers. Park was created in 1961 and it was dedicated to a newly organized Non-Aligned Movement. In central area lies Peace Alley with 26 plane trees planted by presidents of non-aligned countries and a sculpture of a flower made by sculptor Lidija Mišić.

During Tito’s rule, many presidents and official political leaders planted a tree as a sign of friendship. Among them were Indira Gandhi, Richard Nixon, Queen Elisabeth II and many others. Serbia continued this tradition until today. Members of the Rolling Stones were among the last one to plant a tree here in 2008 when they held concert in this park. In the midst of this park stands monument called Eternal Fire that was dedicated to victims of NATO bombing, erected in 1999.

Park prijateljstva is occasionally used for various culture events including concerts and Beer Fest that is held every August.

Source: http://www.belgradian.com/green-belgrade/park-of-friendship

Target group: Participants of different age, gender, educational and social background

Pedagogical goal and methodology: Research action method would help participants to gather information and reflections on politics of Yugoslav socialist society during the Cold War Era and later implications of this politics. Park dedicated to Non-aligned movement and aimed neutral political position of Tito’s Yugoslavia with later added monument to the victims of NATO bombing in 1999 provides an extraordinary framework for analyses of socio-political history and its impact on everyday life. Participation of people with different backgrounds and experiences would improve understanding of different perspectives in former Yugoslavia.

Evaluation: Not sure about methodology; any suggestions are welcome

Agreements with local partners: Contacting a group of friend (maybe my students, participants from other organization or other visitors of Park)

Timetables and milestones:

May – Contacticng participants/partners

– Arranging the visit

June -Visit and evaluation

          – Reporting on the project

 

„the East“ and „the West“ in a little Western German village…

Until now my project is nothing but a theoretical idea and maybe the implementation will be not that easy in the end. Here you can read my first ideas about it. Maybe I will also change the topic or focus during the working process (for example I could imagine a shift from focussing on the cold war era to East – West stereotypes or something totally different).

I’m glad for any kind of feedback and helpful ideas!

Topic and content

To deal with history and especially the history of Eastern and Western Germany (and the whole world that was shaped by the iron curtain) is probably an easy thing to do in Berlin. But what about a small village in the South West of Germany that is on the one hand not that old itself and on the other hand there are no visible signs of remembrance or even traces of a former separated world and society? This is the starting point for my little project.

Postkarten_4My mother and one of my brothers are living in a village called Friedrichstal (it’s close to Karlsruhe in Baden-Württemberg). This village has around 5000 inhabitants and was founded at the end of the 17th century by refugees that were driven out of France, Belgium and Switzerland because of religious reasons. Nowadays this village is a quite sleepy one: there is a school, a football and sports club (and probably some more clubs), a protestant and a catholic church, a stop for the tram to the next town, even a station for the regional train, a small industrial zone. So nothing really special. No lovely old village center – instead of this the biggest parts are single family houses starting from the ’60s including a growing larger settlement of family houses that are built within the last years. Most of the people are working outside of Friedrichstal.

So how it’s possible to implement a project about the time of the iron curtain and its consequences in such a surrounding? This is the challenge I would like to take up.

Target group

Together with a friend my brother is leading a children group. The kids are at the age of around ten up to twelve years and they are meeting each Friday. This offer is connected to the youth work of the local catholic parish but in reality they never really spend time on religious or spiritual contents, it’s more about playing group games and offering outside activities – so it can be seen more as a part of the local youth welfare work (at least in the group of my brother and his friend).

I decided to take this group of children as the target group of my little project because I can have quite easy access to this group of kids through my brother.

Pedagogical goals

* spreading awareness for a society that is shaped by socio-historical backgrounds

* offering information about the cold war era

* evoking interest in and curiosity for history

Pedagogical approach and methods

* action research → there are no “natural” places that are depicting symbols for the cold war era, but I will spread some material at several places (maybe five) in the village where the kids can get information or impressions (so it’s a bit more like a treasure hunt) and in the end they are sharing what they have seen/heard/read/thought

* contemporary witness (living library)→ if possible I would like to provide one station with a person that experienced the GDR (maybe my mother could do this) and that could tell some personal impressions and stories; if not possible I would use some audio material

I’m open for ideas/suggestions/hints for material that I could use for this kind of setting (what means: no actual places of remembrance, so that I have to

Evaluation

The evaluation I will separate in two parts: On the one hand I want the kids to give me a anonymous feedback. For this I’m planning to use the method “suitcase, question mark, garbage bin”. This means that in the end of the project the kids will have the possibility to write or draw on different coloured papers what they have learned todicons-feedbackkarten-gray (suitcase), which questions they still have in mind (question mark) and what they didn’t like or what was unnecessary in their opinion (garbage bin). If possible I will try to answer the written questions in the final circle.

On the other hand I want to do a reflection on my own acting and how the project was working. For this I don’t have yet a good idea for a useful method. Any suggestions?

Agreements with local partners

My local partner for this project is my brother and his friend who are leading this youth group together.

Timetable and milestones

* May → looking for useful material

* beginning of June → preparation of the single stations of the action research (incl the material, the questionnaires for the groups)

* one week before the project: introducing myself and informing the kids that there will be a special offer next week

* 17. or 24.06.: doing the project

* after the project: self-evaluation

Visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin wall 6

 

On Wednesday the 9th of March, we went to Bernauer Str. to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial. Our guide was born and raised in West Berlin and she has been living alongside the Wall for the first twenty years of her life.

According to her, it is important to keep parts of the Wall to remember that period of history.

Listen to Neringa, one of the participant, for whom it was also interesting to see the Wall in reality. As a matter of fact, the Wall and the “in between land” (hinterland) have been reconstituted as before 1989.

 

Berlin wall 3 Berlin wall 4 Berlin wall 5 Berlin wall 7 Berlin wall 1

Text: Marine ; Pictures: Milda; Audio interview: Damjan

Action research in Berlin

On our second day of the training 7 action research groups started exploring the city – visiting memorial sites (the one visible and the ones not so visible), interviewing passers-by, examining different perspectives on the cold war era in Berlin.

Here are some impressions from our activities and some puzzle pieces of the topography of remembrance in this city.

Group 1 – The Airlift Memorial & the Museum of Allies

Group 2 – Stasi Prison Hohenschönhausen

Group 3 – The Stasi Museum, Memorial to the 17. June 1953 Uprising, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Mural

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 3 (PDF)

Group 4 – City Centre West


>>> Download: Presentation of Group 4

Group 5 – Checkpoint Charlie

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 5

Group 6 – German Russion Museum Karlshorst

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 6 (PDF)

Group 7 – Around Alexanderplatz / City East

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