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Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights.

2nd International Conference Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights. Dresden – Place of remembrance, place of meeting,
place of education. 8-11 February 2008. Dresden, Germany
2nd International Dresden Conference «Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights»
Action Reconciliation Service for Peace
Bürger.Courage e.V. (initiative Citizens Courage)
City of Dresden
Evangelical Reformed Community Dresden
Friedrich Ebert Foundation
HATiKVA – Education and Meeting Centre for Jewish History and Culture in Saxony
IG »13. Februar 1945« e.V. (association »13th February 1945«)
Jewish Community Dresden
Kulturbüro Sachsen e.V. (association Cultural Office Saxony)
Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation Dresden e.V.
Supported by: Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation
Project concept
Friedemann Bringt (Kulturbüro Sachsen e.V.)
Matthias Neutzner (IG »13. Februar 1945« e.V.)
Project management
Grit Hanneforth, Maria Grjasnow (Kulturbüro Sachsen e.V.)
c/o Kulturbüro Sachsen e.V. / Cultural Office Saxony
Bautzner Strasse 45
D-01099 Dresden
Tel: +49 (0) 351/272 14 90
Fax: +49 (0) 351/563 40 898
Mobile: +49 (0) 174/991 94 35
2nd International Dresden Conference
»Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights«
Historical symbols and myths as a source of citizen’s involvement in peace, democracy and human
rights in the 21st century
90 participants from Russia, Poland, Czechia, Netherlands, Great Britain, Israel, Spain, Germany and
Dresden, Germany:
Evangelical Reformed Community Dresden & Jewish Community Dresden
Background information
Immediately after the historical events of February 1945, the remembrance of the destruction of
Dresden’s city centre during the Second World War by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air
Force adopted a symbolic dimension reaching far beyond the local context. The reason for that is
based both in the gravity of the events and the fact that the German war propaganda immediately
addressed the Dresden events in mythicizing and positioning them as a discharge argument.
Since then the collective memory of the events in February 1945 has been developed in a
permanent, complex and contradictory process – influenced by the intense use of the remembrance
for different political objectives, by a broad citizens’ remembrance culture in Dresden and by
worldwide artistic and scientific discussions about the "symbol of Dresden".
Against this background, valuable experiences of a responsible and future-oriented dealing with the
past have evolved during the past decades in Dresden. In 2004, these experiences were summarized
in a document which was compiled by citizens and democratically legitimized – the "frame of
Contrary to this process, however, the city has faced an increasing misuse of the "symbol of Dresden"
during the past decade. In particular German and European right-wing extremists use the
commemoration of the air raids in Dresden as a platform for publicly propagating historical
revisionist views.1
The 2nd International Conference builds upon the discussion processes of the "frame of
remembrance" and the results of the 1st International Conference "13th February: Day of
remembrance, day of encounter, day of education" in February 2005.
With the 2nd conference, the initiators pursue three main goals: First, the contents of the conference
should contribute to the current international discourse of the meaning of history and identity for
the creation of a Europe of peace, democracy and human rights. Second, the international context of
the conference should give impulses for a future-oriented development of Dresden’s remembrance
culture and for the defence of historical-revisionist misuse. Third, the conference aims for a profound
international cooperation of citizens associations, in particular between the twin cities of Dresden,
and beyond.
1 Thus, on occasion of the 60th anniversary of the city's destruction on 13 February 2005, 5.000 right-wing
extremists from Germany and other European countries took part in a "funeral march" to mourn the people
killed during the bombing. It was one of the largest neo-Nazi demonstrations in Germany's postwar history.
2nd International Dresden Conference
»Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights«
Above all, the conference is meant to be a frame for an intense exchange among the participants and
involved actors from Dresden. Keynote presentations by well-known international scientists and
activists and artists involved in historic-political contexts will precede discussions. Excursions and
meetings in Dresden will complement and deepen the discourse of the conference.
The program of the conference is divided in three parts: The starting point will be the reflection of
the origin and impact of historical symbols. In the following, the potential of such symbols for
citizens’ involvement in peace, democracy and human rights will be analyzed by means of the
experiences in European places of remembrance. The third conference part finally gives the
opportunity to discuss the specific situation in the city of Dresden and to reflect places and activities
of remembrance in Dresden.

2nd International Conference
»Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights«
8-11 February 2008, Dresden, Germany
Friday, 8 February 2008
Arrival & Opening
17:30 – 18:30 Opportunity to attend the Sabbath Service in the Synagogue of Dresden
19:00 Opening & Welcome
Lutz Vogel, Lord Mayor, City of Dresden
19:45 Conference Buffet and World Music by “Krambambuli”
Saturday, 9 February 2008
Meaning and functions of historical symbols
09:00 – 10:30 Key note: The long shade of the past. Remembrance culture and historical politics in
the 21st century
Aleida Assmann, Department of Literature and Anglistics, University of Konstanz
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 – 12:00 Historical symbols and biography
Alexander von Plato, Institute of History and Biography, University of Hagen,
12:00 – 13:00 Historical symbols and identity
Marie-Louise Sorensen, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 – 15:00 Historical symbols in arts and media
Karl-Siegbert Rehberg, Chair of sociological theory and cultural sociology, University
of Dresden
15:00 – 15:30 Documentary "Embracing Story"
Eve Rennebarth, filmmaker, Berlin
16:00 – 18:00 "World Café", round table talks
18:00 Dinner
20:00 Opportunity to attend a Philharmonic Concert of Camerata Bern in Protestant
Frauenkirche: Bach, Mahler, Boccherini (limited places)
Sunday, 10 February 2008
Historical symbols and the commitment for peace, democracy and human rights
08:30 – 09:30 Opportunity to attend a spiritual opening and guided tour in Protestant
10:00 – 11:00 Coventry – The city and its twin cities as symbolic places of remembrance
Andrew Rigby, Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, University of Coventry
11:00 – 12:00 Remembrance as a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights in multiethnic
Maurice Blanc, Professor of Sociology, University Marc Bloch, Strasbourg
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 – 14:00 Symbolic places of remembrance in Poland – from Katyn via Auschwitz to Kreisau
Krzysztof Ruchniewicz, Department of History, University of Wrocław
14:00 – 15:00 The symbolic place of Nürnberg and its remembrance of the “Third Reich”
Eckart Dietzfelbinger, Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nürnberg
15:00 – 18:00 Places of remembrance in Dresden
guided tour in and around Dresden
evening Opportunity to visit organizations and institutions in Dresden active in memory
work, dinner on site
Monday, 11 February 2008
The example of Dresden
09:00 – 10:00 Dresden – symbol and myth
Yariv Lapid, director of the Education Department of the Mauthausen Memorial
Matthias Neutzner, association »13 February 1945«, Dresden
10:00 – 12:00 Arts as a place of remembrance:
"Street-Action", street theatre (State Theatre Dresden, Theatre Young Generation
Dresden, Bürger.Courage e.V., Kulturbüro Sachsen e.V.)
"Winners", music and multimedia production («association 13 February 1945»,
Dresden; Fabrica, Venice)
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 – 14:00 Future-oriented remembrance
Christian Staffa, Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, Berlin
parallel Press meeting
14:00 – 17:00 Working groups and final panel
17:00 Closing of the conference
12/13 February 2008
Side events (not included in the conference program)
12 February "Sign of life" – meeting of the survivors of 13 February 1945, Dreikönigskirche
13 February
Public commemoration of the air raids in Dresden in February 1945:
wreath-laying ceremony at Heide cemetery, demonstrations and events in the city centre

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