Die Teilnehmerinnen Silvia Acosta und Marcela Vanegas des Austauschprogramms Memory Work. Im Hintergrund sieht man eine Stadt
Silvia Acosta und Marcela Vanegas © Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

Our purpose in conducting this research exchange in Germany, with the Berlin Wall Foundation and the Federal Foundation for the Re-evaluation of the SED Dictatorship is to build knowledge from German experiences around the construction of historical memory to later apply this knowledge in our work with women in Colombia who are victims of the armed conflict in the development of our Women's Memory Museums, which are located within the Centers for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Casa Social de la Mujer (CEICSM) in Colombia; so that they are the ones who tell their stories so that they will not be repeated and so that they will be an inspiration for more women to overcome.

Since our arrival in Germany on August 2, 2023 to date, we have had the opportunity to conduct:

  • 20 visits to museums in and around Berlin.
  • 7 visits to memorials and monuments in and around Berlin.
  • 9 guided visits to museums and memorials.
  • Participate in 6 commemoration ceremonies.
  • Conducting 6 interviews with officials of institutions working on memory building.
  • Development of Desarrollo del Diplomado Memoria y Mujer, Una Apuesta Por La Paz Hacia Territorios Sostenibles, Desde Alemania Para Colombia…
  • Construction and development of the exhibition Memorias Hundidas, memorias reprimidas al conflicto armado en Colombia.

Thanks to the visits to the different museums, memorials, monuments, exhibitions and commemoration spaces, we have been able to identify the different ways in which these spaces can be constructed, how to present the information in them in a way that they are much more interesting and attractive to the people who visit them, taking into account that these visitors can be of different ages, races, religions and political orientations; and most importantly, always keeping in mind the respect for history and the victims of the events.

More than 50% of the museums we have visited allow visitors to interact with the spaces through audio, interviews, interactive games, virtual reality and other tools; this has been a very important aspect for us, as we believe that in this way it is easier to connect with the story that is told there and learning can be greater, since for that moment of the visit we are part of history, we are living an experience.

Through guided tours and interviews we have been able to clarify countless doubts that have arisen during or after our visits to the different museums, memorials, monuments and ceremonies, either about aspects of history, the organization or layout of the space, or the way in which they are built. It has been very important to know the perspective of the researchers when telling the story in these spaces and the work they have in the reconstruction of this with a total commitment to the truth and the reality of the facts. We also emphasize the importance of the objects that are exhibited in a given space in order to support the story, they are never there without a specific reason.

With respect to our participation in the ceremonies or commemorations, we recognize the importance and the commitment of German institutions with the victims of the different historical events that have taken place in their territory not to leave them in oblivion. For us they have been spaces of much reflection and respect not only for the history or the victim or victims who lost their lives or suffered in x place, but also for their families or communities that often also participate in these spaces.

In addition to the activities developed within the framework of the Memory Work exchange, EL Diplomado Memoria y Mujer, Una Apuesta Por La Paz Hacia Territorios Sostenibles, Desde Alemania Para Colombia diploma course was held in conjunction with the Federal Foundation for the Re-evaluation of the Dictatorship of the SED.

Among the activities that took place in the diploma course was the collective construction of the exhibition MEMORIAS HUNDIDAS - memorias reprimidas al conflicto armado en Colombia, which was exhibited at the headquarters of the Federal Foundation for the Reevaluation of the Dictatorship of the SED on September 2023, with the participation of Latin American embassies, directors and officials from various German institutions.

These two and a half months of research in our Memory Work exchange have been an experience of professional and personal growth, since we have been able to identify methodologies, forms and tools for the collection and construction of memory spaces, for this we want to thank the work team of the Berlin Wall Foundation to the team of the German Federal Foundation for the investigation and evaluation of the Communist dictatorship in the GDR, headed by its directors, colleagues and officials, who have given us their full support and accompaniment in the development of the activities contemplated in our exchange, which has been of vital importance for these to be developed with total success.

Silvia Acosta und Marcela Vanegas

Dieser Bericht stellt keine Meinungsäußerung der Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung dar.