“100 years since the end of WWI” – ISN as active member of the Neustadt Schools Workshop

On Wednesday 14th November, Learning Partners from year 9 took part in a workshop organized by the City of Neustadt to commemorate WWI, which ended 100 years ago. The workshop participants had a range of different backgrounds from student to former soldier and most notably, Jemma, a Syrian refugee.

After an initial discussion of our own perceptions of war we explored the interactive stations to learn more about what happened during the First World War using testimonies. We read moving diary entrances and letters from some very young soldiers who described their war experiences, some saying good bye to their loved ones, knowing that they would not live another day as their injuries were too severe. Another station had a number of photographs taken during the war years and showing the happiness of soldiers with which they joined up to photos depicting utter destruction.

Finally, in a moving story, Jemma shared her personal photos with us and talked about her life in Aleppo before the war and how she did not want to leave her town. Her story finished with an emotional account of her escape from the war torn country and her ordeal whilst crossing Greece before the she finally arrived in Germany. Her testimony left us with the thought that it is very important to talk about the past and keep memories alive to prevent such atrocities from repeating themselves.

Where ever we are: here or elsewhere in the world. If you would like to share our thoughts, our reflections took the shape of tears and they are hanging on “the tree of tears” at the main cemetery in Neustadt.

Huge thanks goes to our Learning Partners: Tabea, Penelope and Niclas for being such active and empathetic members of our community and also to our mentor Ellen for volunteering her time for such an important event.