05th to 11th March

3rd International Interdisciplinary Seminar

“To understand how past and present come together in our personal lives, is quite difficult. I thought that meeting people from all over the world with their individual background and stories, hear them, discuss together, and think about how we can shape the future of society in a different way, will be an intense experience. But I didn’t expect such open-minded, respectful and honest encounters in this special atmosphere which formed my understanding of and willingness to hear people’s stories – the easy and the hard ones.”

Lisa, Freie Universität Berlin, 2023

The third of three international and interdisciplinary seminars with the topic “Memory Dialogues on Antisemitism and Racism” was held in March 2023 in Oslo and Falstad, Norway. 26 students and 9 experts from Germany, Norway and Poland participated from 5th to 11th March 2023.

DAY 1 [Sunday] Holocaust Center + Meeting Claudia Lenz. We visited the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies (CHM) in Oslo. The CHM focuses on Holocaust, extremism, antisemitism, and minority issues. Housed in the former residence of fascist Prime Minister Vidkun Quisling, it explores the reappropriation of history. Professor Claudia Lenz, a researcher at CHM, discussed how historical narratives shape collective memory, including Norway’s narrative of resistance against Quisling’s regime. She highlighted a global memory emerging since the 1990s through culture, film, and museums. This laid the groundwork for our guided exhibition tour. “In/Visible: Everyday Racism in Norway” showcased subtle discrimination against minorities. The exhibit shared personal perspectives, historical context, and media’s role in perpetuating racism. It aimed to spark discussions about discrimination and change perspectives, providing an insightful start to our trip.

DAY 2 [Monday] The second day began with group presentations, bringing together students from Poland, Norway, and Germany, as well as diverse backgrounds including Brazil, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, and Poland. Some presentations highlighted political and social issues related to racism and antisemitism, including prejudice, homophobia, Anti-LGBTQI+ biases and Germany’s history of racism and extremism. Others shared personal experiences of racism, from inappropriate questions to physical attacks, revealing the need for awareness, education, and allyship. We also visited the 22. Juli Senteret in Oslo, which educates about the 2011 attacks. The center sheds light on the events, state actions, and the ideology of the perpetrator, fostering reflection on conspiracy theories. This prepared us for our upcoming visit to Utøya, emphasizing the importance of countering extremism.

22 of July Centre, Oslo

DAY 3 [Tuesday] Our visit to Utøya brought mixed emotions. We watched “22 July” and read about racism in Norway, but nothing prepared us for the impact. After an introduction at the 22 July Center, we took a ferry to the island. In the new building named “torget,” we were welcomed, given a tour, and shown the island’s history, from political shifts to touching stories on the love path. The old cafeteria, where many victims perished, was the toughest spot, with text conversations and images evoking deep emotions. Outside, we saw 495 iron steles protecting 69 wooden ones, symbolizing survivors and victims. A circular memorial ensured equal remembrance. Leaving with heavy hearts, we appreciated the enrichment and the island’s role in political engagement. Utøya’s resilience and Norway’s increased political participation since 2011 represent progress.

Visiting Utøya

DAY 4 [Wednesday] We arrived at Falstad Center early in the morning after an overnight bus ride from Oslo. The program started later that day with an introduction by Sebastian Klein, the head of education. The Falstad Center, established in 2000 and opened in 2006, educates about WWII imprisonment, humanitarian law, and human rights. The complexs history dates back to 1921 as a reformative school and later served as a camp for Norwegian political prisoners during the German occupation. It was also a forced labor camp after the war. Discussions covered colonialism’s link to the German occupation and the distinctiveness of the Holocaust compared to other genocides. We then split into groups to work on final presentations. A few days later, Sebastian Klein led a tour through the forest area where over 200 prisoners were executed and buried during WWII. We saw memorials marking significant periods of Falstad’s history, paying tribute to victims from various nations, including Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Norway.

Impressions from the seminar

DAY 5 and 6 [Thursday and Friday] We had the opportunity to watch Erik Poppe’s film, “Utoya: July 22,” a gripping portrayal of the tragic events that unfolded on Utoya island. Following the screening, we engaged in a meaningful Zoom conversation with Erik Poppe himself. During this enlightening discussion, we delved into his motivations behind creating the film, his unique approach to storytelling, the intricate process of making the film, and his collaboration with survivor groups to ensure its authenticity. The conversation proved to be both challenging and thought-provoking, as it prompted us to reflect on the power of cinema, the profound impact of domestic terrorism, and our collective responsibility to confront issues such as racism. Erik Poppe’s film and our subsequent discussion provided a poignant reminder of the importance of addressing these pressing societal matters through the medium of film and open dialogue.

Trailer Utøya – Juli 22

Interview with Erik Poppe, filmmaker

« The Falstad Seminar was an eye-opening experience that allowed us to share our personal stories and perspectives while gaining insight into the various forms of discrimination within cultural and historical contexts »

Jennifer Nedlin, Hamburg Media School. 2023

The Assignment for this seminar:

Recognizing, dealing with, and preventing hate speech, antisemitism and racism is a growing concern for contemporary societies and communities. As brutalization in our society seems to increase in both the physical and digital world – the number of discriminating incidents related to hate speech, racism and antisemitism seems to grow accordingly. And this comes not only from private persons, but also from public persons, as we could currently see and hear. In this workshop, the students were asked to research on this topic, observe relevant societies and communities, and develop adequate concepts.

The final group presentations at Falstad

The concept presentations of the participating groups, 2023

Group Photo at the POLIN Museum (all images by memorydialogues.com)

Students 2023: Bethel Britto, Sophia Becker, Oyaro Laban Lekishon, Maria Chojnacka, Anway Bansod, Daria Krzemkowska [Volda University College] Haruna Inagaki, Nahid Daneshvar, Anders Hagen, Lara Brener [University of Bergen] Aleksandra Mikołajczyk, Kalina Zalewska, Julia Radzikowska, Małgorzata Kopycka, Valeriia Kalinnikova, Mariia Bilostotska [University of Warsaw] Paweł Kołtun, Maciej Wajler, Karolina Lizunow, Alicja Polak [SWPS Wrocław] Daniel Neumeier, Lisa Querner, Boris Ritzow, Alishya Tanoku [Freie Universität Berlin] Christina Reuter, Ronja Lauderback, Jennifer Nedlin [Hamburg Media School]

Supervisors 2023: Irmgard Zündorf [Freie Universität Berlin], Krzysztof Moszczyński [SWPS Wrocław], Hilde Kramer [University of Bergen], Kamila Zochniak [University of Warsaw], Kathrin Lemme [Hamburg Media School], Jon Harman [Volda University College], Thomas Lewe [Volda University College], Sebastian Klein [Falstadsenteret], Magdalena Dopieralska [Polin Museum], Joanna Longfors [Polin Museum], Christina Svarva [Falstadsenteret]

“The Falstad Seminar was an eye-opening experience that allowed us to share our personal stories and perspectives while gaining insight into the various forms of discrimination within cultural and historical contexts.”

Jennifer Nedlin, Hamburg Media School. 2023