Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Mahn‑ und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück


Ravensbrück Memorial Museum

16th European Summer University Ravensbrück

28. August - 01. September 2023 – 10:00 - 13:00 Uhr – all day

Witnessed Memory. Narrating. Preserving. Passing on. 


The 16th European Summer University Ravensbrück is dedicated to the topic of testimony. The testimony of survivor witnesses is an integral part of the historical and educational work at memorial sites. However, has this seemingly self-evident fact always been common practice? Should the role of the survivor witness itself be historicized given the changes in the cultures of remembrance since 1945? And how can the postulate of critical reflection in educational work be balanced with the conception of the witness as a moral authority?   


This year's Summer University will address this area of tension between the witness, testimony, and historical and pedagogical conveyance. Thereby, changes in the meaning of testimony, its use in memorial education as well as current digital approaches to the presentation of eyewitnesses will be explored. The Ravensbrück Summer University is characterized by its emphasis on women's and gender history.  


As eyewitnesses, the former inmates receive great attention in contemporary memorial work: they are the moral authorities of activities at the sites, their memories shape knowledge about the National Socialist concentration camps, and in many cases, they were involved as actors in the establishment of memorials at sites of National Socialist persecution.  


Survivor witnesses played an essential role in post-war trials, out of which the act of testifying developed. With their accounts, they increase knowledge about the concentration camps, especially from the perspective of social and everyday history. Theoretical, methodological, and ethical questions of historiography and oral history also build on their accounts as sources. Thus, these narratives have become essential resources for the educational work at memorial sites and are closely linked to these sites.   


With the developments in media, established formats of videographed eyewitness accounts are being adapted into new shapes that are expected to meet the demands and habits of younger generations. During the summer university, such new digital formats and strategies and their impact on the dissemination, relevance and substance of survivor testimony will be critically assessed.  


The European Summer University is aimed at an interdisciplinary audience of scholars, students, practitioners from the area of memorial sites and other interested individuals. It is intergenerational, and multi-disciplinary and takes up questions of gender studies. The programme includes lectures, guided tours and workshops, as well as an open laboratory on new digital formats for the presentation of testimonies.   


Additionally, a research forum for emerging scholars is planned within the conference framework, during which final theses (BA, MA, PhD) related to the thematic range of this year's summer university may be presented. For this, a separate Call for Papers will follow.  


Participation in the European Summer University is free of charge. The conference languages are German and English. Simultaneous translation throughout the conference will be provided. For accommodation and meals, the adjacent youth hostel is available. Accommodation in a shared room with full board: 46 euros per night. Monday to Friday: 184 euros. The surcharge for double rooms is 4 euros and for single rooms 8 euros per night. Single and double rooms are available subject to occupancy. We will endeavour to provide a subsidy for students, conditional on funding approval. The event is recognised as "Bildungsurlaub" in Berlin-Brandenburg.  

 ATTENTION! Unfortunately, due to the great demand, all overnight places in the youth hostel are already fully booked. However, we are happy to welcome you as day guests.

Registration is open until 7 August 2023 at:  

This year's program.


Travel: A regional train leaves every hour from Berlin's main station to Fürstenberg/Havel (direction: Stralsund / Rostock). From Fürstenberg station it is a 2 km walk to the memorial. Transfers are organised on request. By car: Fürstenberg is about 80 km north of Berlin on the B96 Berlin-Stralsund.  


The European Summer University Ravensbrück is organised by the Ravensbrück Memorial/Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten, the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History, the Leibniz Research Network “Wert der Vergangenheit” and the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the TU Berlin.   


Concept: Kolja Buchmeier, Marcus Funck, Andrea Genest, Johanna Kootz, Achim Saupe, Thomas Schaarschmidt, Aliena Stürzer, Irmgard Zündorf 

For more information contact us at




Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück

Straße der Nationen
16798 Fürstenberg/Havel



Contactsperson: Aliena Stürzer

Back to list