History? Our Story!
Alfred Landecker Foundation at the re:publica 2024

From 27 to 29 May 2024, the Alfred Landecker Foundation was represented for the first time with its own stand at re:publica, the digital policy conference. The focus was on interactive, digital projects by the foundation and its partners that commemorate the history of National Socialism and the Holocaust.

Democracy has come under pressure, and history has shown that democracy doesn’t disappear suddenly, but gradually. To draw lasting lessons from the past and counter current dangers, it is our duty to engage with the past. Digital formats play a central role in this, as they reach an ever larger audience, are easily accessible and invite to engage with the content.

Together with our partners, we presented a selection of interactive, digital projects at this year’s re:publica. For example, we invited visitors at our stand to try out the digital remembrance game “Erinnern. Die Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm”, to explore the digital exhibition Zwangsräume or to learn about the RÄTSELRÄUME escape game. Young people in particular took advantage of this opportunity. They were able to share their thoughts on a feedback wall, their views on democracy and social cohesion — and how they contribute to both. The ideas encouraged people to leave their own comfort zone, get more involved in local associations and clubs or engage in dialogue with people who hold political views different to their own.

Among the visitors was Germany’s Federal Minister of Digital Affairs Volker Wissing of the liberal FDP party, who spoke to our co-CEOs Silke Mülherr and Lena Altman about ways to defend freedom of expression online — which includes consistently prosecuting the publishing of illegal content.

Germany’s Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) also stopped by and exchanged views with us on the attacks on academic freedom. We agreed that we have to consistently tackle antisemitism at universities if political responsibility and a culture of remembrance are not mere lip service.

Landecker Community presented its work in the Speaker's Corner

In a separate area of the stand —“Speaker’s Corner”—members of the Landecker community came together on all three days of the event to talk about their work. Dr Victoria Grace Walden from the University of Sussex, for example, presented the newly founded Landecker Digital Memory Lab, which collects and connects innovative approaches to Holocaust research in a central database.

Franziska Görlitz from the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF) reported on experiences with the “Mach Meldung!" project. Its aim is to improve the protection of police officers who report breaches of the law and misconduct within their agency. She described that police officers express their relief to her after having dared for the first time to report misconduct they witnessed at their station.

Benjamin Steinitz from the Federal Association of Research and Information Centres on Antisemitism (Bundesverband der Recherche- und Informationsstellen Antisemitismus e. V.) sketched out the importance of recording and evaluating antisemitism along uniform standards, which is what the newly founded European Network on Monitoring Antisemitism is doing. He emphasised that today, only one in five serious antisemitic incidents in the EU is ever reported.

Focus on the opportunities and challenges of the digital space

How can digital games contribute to preserving the memory of the Holocaust? This was the topic of a panel chaired by Miriam Menzel from our program team as part of the main re:publica program. The panellists included Markus Bassermann from the Hamburg Memorials and Learning Sites Foundation, Michael Zöller from ROTxBLAU and Tabea Widmann from the Digital Games Culture Foundation. Widmann emphasised the need for innovative digital formats: “We have to go to where people are.”

In a short presentation, Landecker Lecturer Mykola Makhortykh warned against the potential impact of foundation models in the field of artificial intelligence. These models are pre-trained with large data sets from the internet and form the basis for generative AI such as ChatGPT. “We must prevent them from undermining the integrity of knowledge about the Holocaust.”

Alfred Landecker Foundation Co-CEO Silke Mülherr spoke on a panel with Anna-Katharina Messmer from Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Owen Bennett from Ofcom (the British network agency) and Oliver Marsh from AlgorithmWatch about systemic risks in the digital space and how they could be recognised and regulated. The panel emphasised how important it is for large platforms to cooperate regularly with specialist civil society organisations and share data with scientists to identify potential risks.

We would like to thank all visitors for the lively exchange during the three days and our partners for the exciting insights into their work.

Explore what we do

Confront the past

Combat antisemitism

Protect minorities

Strengthen democracy

Reinforce critical thinking

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