Shimon Peres Award 2023 goes to two outstanding Israeli-German cooperation projects

© Arnell Koegelenberg/ –

The Shimon Peres Award 2023 goes to two projects that are outstanding examples of successful cooperation between young people from Germany and Israel. Both initiatives have focused on social diversity and the coexistence of cultures and have dealt with social issues in depth far beyond their subject area. The participants act as multipliers far beyond their projects. The cooperations continue the legacy of Shimon Peres, who has always been committed to the dialogue and encounter of the young generation.

Finding Romi – A cross-generational search for traces

A joint project of Hashomer Hatzair Germany e.V. in cooperation with Hashomer Hatzair in Israel, the Havatzelet Group in Israel, the Kurt Löwenstein youth training centre in Werneuchen/Werftpfuhl, ROSBOT in collaboration with various archives and educational institutions in Israel and Germany

‘To move forward, you have to know your past,’ is an old saying from the organization Hashomer Hatzair (Hebrew: The Young Guard). In 2012, the progressive Jewish youth movement was revived in Germany after the organisation was banned under National Socialism in the late 1930s. Ten years after its reestablishment, it now dedicated itself to the traces and memories of its predecessors in order to come to terms with the rupture in its own history and, in the spirit of the saying, to initiate a new beginning.

For this purpose, more than 300 former members and their descendants were located in Israel and their stories about life as Jewish youths in Germany shortly before the Second World War were researched and documented. Thanks to the help of numerous Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers and the support of several cooperation partners in Germany and Israel, it was possible to build up a digital archive with a specific reference to Hashomer Hatzair that had not previously existed on such a scale in Germany or Israel.

The results were also incorporated into a board game and a card game, which serve as educational material to support an intergenerational exchange. In cooperation with the Berlin State Center for Political Education, these will also be made available to other educational institutions to teach about Jewish life in Germany. Stumbling blocks have also been laid in honour of the families of some former members.

The project, which is situated between the past, present and future, also symbolises the organisation’s emotional decision to resettle in Germany after the Shoah and to equip new generations of young guardians with democratic and humanistic values and opportunities for action.

More information about ‘Finding Romi’

Where does the hate come from?

A joint project of the initiative Much theatre around us! of the Helmut-Schmidt-Gymnasium in Hamburg in cooperation with the Sha’ar HaNegev High School in Sderot, the Jaffa Theater in Tel Aviv Old Jaffa, the Almehabash Theater in Rahat and other institutions and educational establishments in both countries

Relativisation of the Shoah, conspiracy narratives, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Where does the hatred that underlies such democracy-weakening phenomena come from? How can we work together to counter them?

Building on a previous project and in order to explore these questions further, the bilateral art and theater project brought together students and young people from Hamburg Wilhelmsburg – most of them with an immigrant background – with Jewish and Arab Israelis of the same age from Sderot and Rahat in southern Israel. In joint workshops in Germany and Israel, under the guidance of professional artists and educators, the young people dealt with identity, belonging, racism, anti-Semitism, memory culture, and the historical and social contexts of both countries. The confrontation with the life worlds of the respective ‘others’ was very important here.

Theater performances were developed together and publicly performed several times in Hamburg and Jaffa. There was also an accompanying exhibition in Tel Aviv, a flash mob in Jerusalem and performances in both countries. To ensure that the message of cooperation reached as many people as possible, the project was documented on film.

The playful approach in this educational-artistic theatre project created a space for encounter, exchange and empathy in which the young people could work together on positive visions for the future. The joint work on the theater plays made a lasting contribution to

More information about ‘Where does the hate come from?’

Source and attional information: stiftung deutsch-israelisches zukunftsforum