On Friday 13 August 2021, the closing and commemoration event of the international youth exchange Worcation took place. For a fortnight between 31 July and 14 August 2021, young adults from Germany, Poland, Italy and Ukraine got to know each other in the European City. The Meetingpoint Music Messiaen e.V. organised the project for the 14th time. This year’s project took place under the motto “United in diversity”. The focus of the meeting was the history of the former prisoner of war camp Stalag VIII A. About 120,000 soldiers were imprisoned in this main camp from 1939 to 1945. Among them were French, Italian and Polish prisoners as well as soldiers from the former Soviet Union, who lived in inhumane conditions in the camp.

During the closing event, the participants reported on their experiences and their work during the two-week encounter.
In a theatre and music workshop, the young people dealt with the history of Stalag VIII A in an artistic way. In short theatre scenes, they tried to approach the fates of the prisoners of war and the time of their imprisonment, asking themselves if they could possibly find parallels to their own lives. The result is a video in which the music used was composed and recorded by the workshop participants. In addition, original artefacts found on the Stalag grounds during Worcation 2018 and 2019 were used in the video clip.

The third workshop group worked on the restoration of a model of Stalag VIII A from the 1970s. The young people used the aerial photograph of the Stalag site from May 1945 and other historical documents as a basis. During the work, the scale of the model was converted so that it is now true to scale. The model is located next to the permanent exhibition in the Memorial Site and can now be viewed during the opening hours of the European Centre.

The workshop work was accompanied by a social programme. The young Europeans got to know our European city during a city rally, spent a day at Lake Berzdorf, took part in an excursion to the Hygiene Museum in Dresden and had many fun barbecues. The farewell on the last day of the meeting was very tearful and difficult for the participants. All participants assured each other that they would meet again next year in Görlitz.

The project Worcation 2021 was funded by the Foundation ” Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft” (Remembrance, Responsibility, Future) within the framework of the funding programme “Europeans for peace”, Partnerschaft für Demokratie (Partnership for Democracy) of the city of Görlitz as well as the Förderfonds Demokratie (Democracy Promotion Fund).

We would like to thank our partner, the Foundation Remembrance, Education, Culture, as well as our sponsors: Görlitzer Brotschmiede and Gmina Zgorzelec.

The patronage of the Worcation 2021 project was assumed by the Mayor of Görlitz Octavian Ursu and the Mayor of Zgorzelec Rafał Gronicz.

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