The German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V.) is a humanitarian organisation whose task is to register, maintain and care for the graves of German war dead abroad. The Volksbund works in commission of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and carries out its work in the framework of intergovernmental agreements. The Volksbund not only cares for the graves of the war dead, it reminds us of the historical catastrophe of two World Wars and the importance of perpetually working for peace. Youth work is an essential part of the tasks of the Volksbund, especially the international work camps. The Volksbund has also established five meeting centres for young people in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands with ideal conditions for educational peace projects. The work of the Volksbund nowadays is more and more important with conflicts and wars in many parts of this world.
The work camps of the Volksbund are sponsored by the ‘Kinder- und Jugendplan’ of the German Federal Government, the ‘Stiftung Deutsch-Russischer Jugendaustausch’, the German-Polish Youth Office, the German-French Youth Office, the ‘Stiftung Gedenken und Frieden” and by other foundations.
Volksbund organizes own workcamps, and cooperates with VoCE 2014-2018/Peace Summer School in 2014, Sarajevo and Lyon, and in 2015, Germany and Poland.
Volksbund writes in their homepage about work-camps that they organize:
Beyond all borders! Actively working for peace and understanding
You would like to :
• live as part of an international group for a while
• get to know Germany
• explore historical and political topics
• enjoy and arrange leisure activities
• work voluntarily for two to three weeks to maintain war graves or memorials so as to preserve them as a peace memorial ?
You are the right person for us! The German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V.) organises numerous work camps across Germany each summer. Young people between the ages of 16 and 26 years from all over Europe can take part.
Work on war graves and memorials
At most of the work camps, participants work approximately 20 hours per week maintaining war graves or memorials to preserve them as peace memorials. They help with the preservation and restoration of German war grave memorials of the first and second world war, war grave memorials of other nations and fundamentally important memorial places such as concentration camp memorials.
Make new friends! International meeting and intercultural learning
The work camps in Germany are truly international with young people from many different countries. In some work camps the focus is on two or three specific nationalities. The programme offers an opportunity to discover common interests beyond national borders or affiliations at the same time as to notice differences. At last you may develop your own point of view. Topics may be historical events, handling prejudices, racism or the European Union. Of course the participants will also meet people from the host country.
History on location – get to grips with history!
To work for peace means remembering periods of war and tyranny, asking critical questions and searching for the historical context (how could it happen at the time?) and sharing views with others. What does peace mean for me? At many of the work camps there will be conducted tours to war graves, memorials or visits to museums, conversations with witnesses and workshops around the topic ‘peace’.
Leisure activities – here you can really see things!
Experience fun and action together with other young people! Depending on the programme many leisure activities are offered which might include: sightseeing and shopping, cultural events, camp fire evenings, barbecues, disco nights, walking tours for nature lovers or sporting activities.
Extracts from the homepage of Volksbund Germany, May 27, 2014.
Our partner is the LV Berlin, and the participants are part of the young activists of Volksbund/Berlin.