Contemporary history and cultural diversity

This new focus has emerged from earlier initiatives by Ulrich Kasten pertaining to commemoration of the Ravensbrueck women's concentration camp, near Fuerstenberg on the Havel. Since 2015, festive gatherings have been held at the Foundation for Siberian Cultures with survivors of the camp and their descendants from France, Sweden, and Crimea. The significance and emotional depth of these discourses will be enhanced through the documentation of these individuals' oral histories. These are being made available – initially via on-line publication– through the publishing program of the Foundation for Siberian Cultures.

Documentation and interview techniques regarding oral histories and remembrances of forced labor by French citizens in Nazi-Germany, and of survivors of concentration camps, were discussed during a workshop at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), December 3–4, 2015 from a linguistic point of view (see the contributions by  Annette Gerstenberg und Cord Pagenstecher / Stefan Pfänder).

In June 2017, Ulrich Kasten participated in a project by artists from Theaterbündnis Blumenstrauß e.V. (Berlin) on the territory of the former Jugendschutzlager Uckermark, a concentration camp in the same region specifically for youths. It portrayed the camp's daily routines through a theater performance. Additional initiatives have been taken, such as special project days in local schools to commemorate the Ravensbrueck camp. The idea is to explore new ways of making these themes relevant to young people today.

The Foundation is also planning initiatives related to people currently coping with forced migration and to new German residents who come from areas of crisis throughout the world. For some of these refugees, who have now made their new homes in Fuerstenberg, their narratives will be documented as part of their German language training.

Also in preparation are discourses on politics and ethnicity in Russia.