Our association

Against oblivion

Recollection and knowledge of one's own history give foundation, stability and confidence to democratic culture. This is what the future of democracy depends on. The National Socialist crimes - the genocide of the European Jews, of Sinti and Roma, as well as the prosecution and extinction of political dissenters and social fringe groups, not least the triggering off of the 2nd World War as a war of aggression and annihilation - all these have left distinct traces in our nation. The policy of unlawfulness and prosecution by the SED-dictatorship, the prevention of democratic will-forming, the restriction of personal liberties as well as the oppression of large parts of the population by means of a gigantic political surveillance machinery for decades formed the consciousness and behaviour of our society in the former GDR. Remembering these various phases of German history in the 20th century not only means recognition of the suffering and memory of the victims, appreciation of resistance and human sense of decency, but also a moral, individual and social turning back to the own past: Irrespectively of any personal guilt, it is prerequisite for each generation to develop their own access to history. The lessons from the past are components of a stable democratic future.

For democracy

The experiences of the last century show that human rights even in modern societies always need to be prevailed and defended anew. This applies both to today and to tomorrow, in our society and elsewhere. Certainly, nothing will ever become as it was before. Still not all of what once was has sunk into history. The thoughts, feelings and beings of the past reappear in new shapes, under different social circumstances and for different reasons. It takes, as not only Sept. 11th, 2001 has shown, counteraction against both new and old dangers to democracy. Right-extremism, racism, anti-Semitism, and hostility towards foreigners are widespread. The readiness to exclude and to resort to violence against social fringe groups, "different" people and "strangers" is increasing. This development means a challenge to a democratic nation. Therefore the involvement of all social organisations and, not least, conscious intervention by individuals against any kind of discrimination against others is required. Being different without fear in our society: in here mutual acceptance, respect and sense of responsibility must freely unfold. We want to further embody the basic values in every-daylife and thus create the necessary room for a multiform culture of discussion. We want to contribute to the consolidation of democracy as way of life in our society. Democracy not only implies rights for today's political "citoyen", but also duties, for instance the duty of resolute and timely resistance to a democracy-threatening totalitarianism. Recollection requires - especially with increasing distance towards the events - specific historical knowledge. We therefore closely cooperate with the numerous memorial sites on National Socialism and SED-dictatorship. A main topic of this work includes the experiences of contemporary witnesses in order to relive and understand what happened in the past.

In numerous regional working teams we organize events and projects at local and regional level.

How we work

We provide offers to schools, education and further education on the current discussion about right extremism. We advise and support projects and action groups dealing as an expression of a vivid civilian society with local and regional German history and/or stand up against political extremism, racism, hostility towards foreigners and exclusion of minorities. With this in mind we also try to strongly point out to politicians and broad parts of society the importance of such institutions and initiatives.

Gegen Vergessen - Für Demokratie
Stauffenbergstr. 13-14
10785 Berlin
Phone +49 (0)30 263978 3
Fax +49 (0)30 263978 40


Vice Chairmen:
Eberhard Diepgen, Prof. Dr. Bernd Faulenbach, Dr. Irmgard Schwaetzer

Chairman Advisory Board:
Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth

Former Chairman:

Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel
Dr. h.c. Hans Koschnick
Dr. h.c. Joachim Gauck
Wolfgang Tiefensee

Here you can get in touch with us. Any comments, suggestions or critical remarks are welcome!
email: info(at)gegen-vergessen.de