Grassroots intellectualism: "International Youth Meeting Dachau" as a case study for Holocaust education and awareness through para-educational activities



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This thesis examines trends in Holocaust education and awareness after 1945 through the case study of the Youth Meeting Dachau (Internationale Jugendbegegnung-Dachau), a para-educational undertaking initiated by a group of young Dachau citizens starting in the early 1980s. The primary motivation for these youth was a desire to create a forum in which to discuss the implications of the legacy left by the Third Reich. Para-education, like the IJB, shares characteristics with more formalized, institutional education programs but also encompasses unique elements of activism and on-site work that extends beyond the traditional classroom. Since the 1970s, Holocaust education has transitioned into formalized education that is readily available for students in many institutions both in the secondary education systems and also at the university level. The “International Youth Meeting Dachau” is a program that began as a grassroots initiative by young people in Germany who were willing to pitch tents in open fields in order to create the opportunity to come together and have a discussion forum in order to contemplate Germany’s tumultuous past. By examining the foundation of the “International Youth Meeting Dachau” and its youth leaders as well as its program materials, this thesis brings to light much of the ways in which Holocaust awareness has manifested in Germany in the past few decades.



Holocaust education, West Germany, German memory, Dachau, concentration camp