The history teacher Dr. Silvia Wimmer introduces students to a passage from “The last and the first days. Americans and Bavarians encounter each other at the end of World War II.” Students developed this publication within the project.

Phase one of the project day at Humboldt-Gymnasium (Humboldt Secondary School), Vaterstetten, on which the boards for a project exhibition are constructed: Sources are being viewed.

Students sift through contemporary catalogues about National Socialist art. They are looking for works by the sculptor Josef Thorak.

Group work: the students - supported by the history student Felix Heilbrunner (left) - are busy researching the end of the Second World War.

Phase two of the project day: writing the texts. The first draft is already completed. Students discuss their exhibition texts with their teacher.

Phase three of the project day: selection of the exhibits. Here, an exhibit is being shown that comes from a student’s own family collection: bomb splinters that were dropped near Vaterstetten in 1944.

Students investigate the last war days in Baldham and Vaterstetten.

Pictures are selected, described, and their position on the exhibition boards is documented in a sketch.

Last phase of the project day: the students enter texts for the exhibition boards and upload them onto the e-learning platform Moodle.

The history teacher Dr. Silvia Wimmer with Felix Heilbrunner, Martina Fink, and Fabian Baum, three history students who actively assisted during the project day.

The ninth grade (9a) of Humboldt-Gymnasium, Vaterstetten, during the project day in the school library.

The Last and the First Days. External Perception and Self-Perception at the End of the Second World War

Coordinator: Professor Ferdinand Kramer, Institute of Bavarian History, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Contact: Dr. Silvia Wimmer, Humboldt Secondary School, Vaterstetten; Dr. Bettina Scherbaum, Bad Aibling Secondary School

The project allows ninth-grade students of various secondary and high schools from the south-eastern area of Upper Bavaria to network with academics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. The central goal of the project in terms of content is the examination of mutual perception and self-reflections on the part of locals and members of the occupying forces at the end of WWII. Using existing German and American sources, the students will initially research the particular circumstances in their local area in order to then analyze them from an interregional perspective, thus enabling comparisons from different points of view. This kind of analysis should allow conclusions to be made regarding the basis for mutual perception. Working together with various archives, the students will learn the methodology of conducting historical research in archives. In addition, they will attend lectures on the end of the war at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University. Excursions to other academic institutions will also be made.

At the same time, the participating teaching staff will attend regular workshops to inform themselves about the latest scientific research methods. They will also be systematically instructed on how to carry out the project - for instance, through lectures concerning exhibition design and organization, interviewing surviving witnesses, etc. The results of the project will be presented in a brochure in 2008 and in a traveling exhibition in 2009.