With great responsibility, the MEMORISE Consortium met on October 24 and 25 to present the project plan to the interested public and to discuss initial tasks to get MEMORISE off the ground.
October 24: After an internal meeting to discuss plans for the work packages, the public kickoff took place in the DIAS auditorium at the University of Southern Denmark. After welcoming remarks by Rector Jens Ringsmose, Dean Marianne Holmer and IMADA Director Martin Svensson, project coordinator Stefan Jänicke presented an overview of MEMORISE in front of around 80 attendees. The highlight was an interview with Steen Metz, a Danish Holocaust survivor born in Odense, who was connected via Zoom from Chicago, United States. In 45 minutes, he shared his personal story with the audience and he answered questions on past experiences and the current political situation. The MEMORISE team is proud that Steen supports our project as a patron.
October 25: The second day featured different activities from invited talks to a team building activity. In the first session, Therkel Stræde, Holocaust research expert at SDU and member of the MEMORISE advisory board, presented the project “Danish Jews in Theresienstadt: The Topography of Memory”, which connects geographical space with memories of survivors — a core target of MEMORISE. Then, Estelle Bunout from the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) presented historical news corpora, a data type not yet considered to be integrated in our project. In the following Stakeholder Forum, associated partners got the chance to present their institution and data that can be fed into the planned MEMORISE infrastructure. It was important to hear their needs with regards to digital tools that could enhance visitor experiences. After lunch, Danish writer Philip Hallenborg organized an Escape Room competition in a 1940s historical setting. What followed was a session in which next steps for each work package were discussed and the obligatory team photo was taken.
The next in-person consortial event will take place in the Netherlands in November 2023, co-organized by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Westerbork Memorial.
Author: Stefan Jänicke