On Friday, 12.08.2022 the final and commemorative event of the international youth exchange Worcation took place. Over two weeks from 30.07. to 13.08.2022 young adults from Germany, Poland, Italy and Ukraine came together in the European city. The project Worcation was organized for the 15th time by the association Meetingpoint Memory Messiaen. The focus of this year’s meeting was both the history of the former prisoner of war camp Stalag VIII A and the topic of human rights.

During the closing event, the participants reported on their experiences and their work during the two-week encounter.

In the theater and music workshop, the young people dealt with the topic of “human rights” in an artistic way. Using the method of the “Theater of the Oppressed”, the participants worked on current social problems, presented them and tried to find possible parallels to the reality of life of the prisoners of war imprisoned in Stalag VIII A.

Particularly impressive was the last scene of the play, in which the participants took a clear stand on the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The powerful scene was very moving as the participants came together and sang a well-known Ukrainian song.

The third workshop group exposed remnants of a barrack, such as 2 entrances, the night toilets, the remains of the washing troughs, tile stoves and walls, to show the size of a barrack in the otherwise overgrown terrain. The exposed barrack housed Red Army prisoners of war, who, like Italian military internees, were treated the worst. The uncovered barrack will benefit the educational work of the memorial in the long term and will also be approached by the new multimedia guide that leads through the memorial.

Young Europeans also got to know our European city during a city rally, spent a day at Lake Berzdorf, took part in an excursion to Dresden and got to know each other further during a barbecue evening, so that the farewell on the last day of the meeting was very tearful. All participants assured each other that they would meet again next year in Görlitz-Zgorzelec.

The project Worcation 2022 was supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, as well as by the Partnership for Democracy of the City of Görlitz within the framework of the federal program “Live Democracy”.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to our partner – Foundation Remembrance, Education, Culture as well as to our sponsors: Rural Municipality of Zgorzelec and Municipal Utility Company of Zgorzelec.

The honorary patronage of the project Worcation 2022 was assumed by the Mayor of the City of Görlitz Octavian Ursu and the Mayor of the City of Zgorzelec Rafał Gronicz.

The publications do not represent an expression of opinion by the BMFSFJ or the BAFzA. The authors are responsible for the content of their statements

Photos: Jakub Purej