Quotes from Participants

Photos: Tobias Bohm 
Tecla Namachanja (2nd from right), peace activist from Kenya: "I was a part of the Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. But at that time I didn’t really appreciate what remembrance means. Now I know that we need to document more, we need more facts, and we have to do a better job of putting a face on the victims. I regret that I did not document down the stories of the many young men who were castrated or of the woman who only got the head of her husband back. During Kenia’s truth-seeking process, it was only the GIZ who knew the importance of dealing with the past and who supported us. And now I know why: because of German history."
 
Jelena Dzombic (2nd from right) is a human rights activist in Serbia and serves as a head of the peace-building program at the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights there: "When I look at the great remembrance work in Germany, I am a bit more patient with Serbia. I used to think that we were only doing baby steps. However, Germany is a developed and wealthy country and still it took so long to develop a culture of remembrance. Memorial sites are a very important part of the healing process and reconciliation."
 
Lawyer Messina Laurette Manirakiza works for the organization IMPUNITY Watch in Burundi: "I used to only think of the victims when I heard the word ‘remembrance.’ Now I think that, perhaps, we should also include an understanding of how the perpetrator’s system grew. I realized here that we could not only use law, but that we need to deal more with the theory of remembrance culture as well. At the same time, I was struck by the simplicity of some memorials; in Africa we often say that we lack the necessary resources. I also have an idea now how to put an emphasize on the emotional values of a memorial and that it doesn’t even have to be a particularly large memorial to do so."
 
Uri Rosenberg is the founder and coordinator of an Isreali–Arab dialog group: "The elephant in the room for Israeli–Arab relations is the history: Israeli Jews need to understand how the Arab population perceives the past and what justice means for them. Then, we have to emphasize. What I found interesting to learn is to learn how many layers of history there are in Germany."
 
Arrey Ojong Eyumeneh (2nd from left), from Cameroon, is a human rights officer of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali: "This tour has given me so much to think about. In Mali there have been four rebellions leading to four civil wars and the only thing I know is a memorial wall with a few names on it of people who died. I am trying to pick up the best-practice examples from here and transform them to my context."
 
Friederike Bubenzer, senior project leader at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa: "At a personal and professional level these weeks in Germany deeply touched me. I am struck by how important it is for state and society to jointly take responsibility for creating the conditions that give birth to peace, social healing and ultimately, reconciliation. South Africa has only just begun on this journey."
 
Christoph Kreutzmüller, scientific adviser for the Berlin Seminar and employee of the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educational Site, encourages the participants to take a critical look during the tours: "So now I’m going to tell you why I don’t like this memorial: it is too educational! And that minimizes the humans involved!"