By Larissa, project assistant at GLL in Passau
As a part of the “Remember to act” project we organized a workshop on storytelling in a local school. The grade 12 students are organising an incredible project: they are putting QR codes on significant places in Passau. When you scan these QR codes, you get information about Jewish life in Passau. This way, stories of Jews at different historical times become visible. At one place, the Holocaust survivors from Passau are remembered, which is why their project fits perfectly to our „Remember to act“ project.
During our storytelling workshop we showed them why storytelling is useful for their project and what makes a good story. The students were very interested and participated actively. In class, they had already dealt with the different characters. Now they were planning how their lives should be portrayed.
The method of storytelling was new for both, the students and me. Putting historical facts into stories is an innovative approach. In my opinion, it has many advantages: Stories are exciting and we can remember them better. This became particularly clear during the workshop: we collected stories from news that we remembered well. For example, the story of a mountain climber who amputated his own arm after an accident in order to survive. Although the students were not even born when this happened, they all knew the story. This impressed me very much and illustrated the potential of stories.
However, the storytelling method was also questioned. For example, in the middle of the workshop there was a basic discussion with two opposing perspectives. On the one hand, storytelling was seen as an effective method to catch the attention of passers-by and read the story behind the QR codes. On the other hand, the subjectivity of storytelling was strongly criticised. The teachers asked the class whether they want to deliver historical facts or stories of people they don’t even know personally.
Even though this discussion challenged the content work, it was useful for the further course of the students’ project. Thus, the storytelling workshop provided a good overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this method in relation to memory culture. I am very excited to see how the students implement their project and look forward to being reminded of this workshop by the QR codes all over the city.