EASTory through their Eyes workshop at the Freedom Museum

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A group of people attending the workshop

The events of the EASTory through their Eyes project, funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, officially began with a workshop for project partners at the Freedom Museum in Groesbeek, the Netherlands. On 9 November, representatives of the Bastogne War Museum (Belgium), the City of Pilsen (Czechia), the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst (Germany) and the Home Army Museum in Krakow (Poland) met in person for the first time to discuss the application of the multi-perspective approach to their work, exchange experiences, and learn from each other.

The Freedom Museum is a perfect case study of a multi-perspective, cross-border museum that presents the German and the Dutch perspective on the 20th century until the present, taking into account the experiences of other ethnic, social, or political groups and stimulating a deep reflection on the meaning and value of freedom.

The day began with a guided tour of the Freedom Museum by director Wiel Lenders and historian Ralph Trost. It continued with interventions from LRE historian Jory Brentjens, who discussed the approach of the LRE Foundation to history, events and research, and from Freedom Museum curator Rense Havinga, who presented the thorough historical work behind the creation of a multi-perspective museum. EASTory through their Eyes project partners then presented their work, institution and methodology, offering a broad view on WWII and the concept of liberation in the Eastern and Western European perspectives. To conclude the session, German historian Heiko Suhr discussed the evolution of the concept of liberation in Germany, moving from an individual to a collective national – and later European – memory. Sylvia Fleuren, city councillor of the Municipality of Berg en Dal, where the Freedom Museum is located, greeted the project partners, speakers and other workshop attendees.

The EASTory through their Eyes project is composed of a travelling exhibition and a series of youth events. The travelling exhibition presents personal stories of young people from the East and the West of Europe, and it was displayed in Groesbeek for the first time. It will then travel to the Bastogne War Museum, in Belgium, where the first youth event will take place on 10 December 2021. The other youth events will be organised in Krakow, Pilsen, and Berlin in the first half of 2022.