Dealing with the Past - Exchange and Reflect

From toe to head - Football, history and memory work

13. Aug. 2020
Ingolf Seidel

Football is a popular sport all over the world, but the beautiful game has an ugly side as well: anti-Semitic, racist, sexist and homophobic chants and abuse in and outside the stadiums. The Tüpfelhausen – das Familienportal e.V. community organisation in Leipzig has developed its own unique response to the surge of the far right and anti-Semitism...

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The stigmatisation of minorities as a topic in schools

07. Jul. 2020
Ingolf Seidel

In Germany, it took a long time for the persecution of gays in the Third Reich to be recognised as National Socialist injustice. There was no memorial in Berlin until 2008 . In the meantime, society has become much more willing to condemn all forms of discrimination, and yet trans- and homophobic insults are still heard every day in schoolyards across Germany. Simply pointing out the injustices inflicted on these groups does not adequately address the problem.

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9th European History Forum: Hidden Remembrance?

17. Jun. 2020
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Women in World War II in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe - Role models, experience of violence, taboos.

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When wounds are passed on - Insights from the Lebanese context

18. May. 2020
Miriam Modalal and Dalilah Reuben-Shemia

This article explores the importance of collective trauma for conflict transformation by sharing practical examples from peace work in the post-civil war context in Lebanon

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What can help us in helping others - Responding to the impacts of our work through self- and staff-care practices

11. May. 2020
Jennifer Marchand and Karin Griese

Many development and peacebuilding organisations see the need to take the self-care and mental health of their staff seriously. However, many struggle to institutionalise effective mechanisms of self-care. The feminist development and women’s rights organisation medica mondiale shares some best practices and lessons learned from its work around the world.

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About this Blog

We collect and collate practical insights, experiences and approaches relating to the challenges of implementing dealing with the past processes in the world as well as in Germany itself, thereby promoting truly universal learning.


Transitional Justice is a professionalised and internationally accepted policy field. But do its implicit and explicit foundations still hold good? Which of its underlying assumptions, patterns of thinking or practices should be critically reviewed?

Dealing with the past is often subject to passionate political struggles - on the national, as well as on the international level. They can lead to rather supportive or suppressive, truly effective or ineffective frameworks, institutionalised by state-policies and laws. However, below the surface, political struggles are about the access to scare resources, institutions or, more generally, the distribution of power. What political initiatives exist that try to foster inclusive and coherent processes of dealing with the past? Why do they exist and what is their room for manoeuvre?


a. Peacebuilding requires the integration of conflicting narratives. To that end, these narratives must be transformed/made “fit for peace”. How can this be achieved?
b. How can diverse perspectives be made visible in social discourse – or in a museum? What is the connecting element in this diversity? How can relativism and arbitrariness be excluded?

Transitional Justice is value-oriented and aims to help build sustainably peaceful and just societies. What do we know about its real impacts?

Transitional Justice sees itself as genuinely preventive. What can be done to strengthen its prevention capacities?

a. Gender in practice is primarily associated with the integration of women and their perspectives in processes and institutions. Which challenges need to be resolved through practical action?
b. Which other topics that can be addressed through TJ measures lend themselves to consideration through a gender lens?

Exposure to trauma and bereavement is common in conflict-affected regions. It affects indivduals and whole societies. Enjoying peace after the crisis is often impossible. How helpful is trauma resolution to the prevention of future conflicts? Who does trauma therapy address? Are there best-practice examples in post-crisis countries?

 a. Which opportunities are opened up by the digitalisation of memory? What can be done to minimise risks and avert hazards?
b. How can knowledge and narratives about the past reach the general public?

Those born afterwards bear no direct responsibility. They may choose to ignore history or identify with perpetrators or victims. What can be done to awaken young people’s interest in history and motivate them to engage in building peaceful relations between communities?

Please feel free to suggest a new discussion topic in your blog post, such as issues relating to experience with Transformative Justice, reparation programmes, dealing with perpetrators and much more.

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