Current living place:
Fürstenberg / Havel, Germany

Dr. Matthias Heyl

Head of the Educational Services Ravensbrück Memorial Site

  • My organization:
    Ravensbrück Memorial Site is the memorial site on the historical grounds of the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp complex, internationally known as the former Women’s Concentration Camp (approx. 130,000 prisoners). The memorial site, as part of the (state-sponsored) Brandenburg Foundation of Memorials (Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten) provides all kinds of museum’s, scholarly and educational activities.

  • Examples of concrete activities I have organized/am organizing in the field of “dealing with the past”:

    Educational activities like guided tours, international youth meetings at the “International Youth Meeting Centre”, Eureopean Summer-University (annually), member of ICOM MEMO, participating in national and international projects; teacher-trainings for e.g. Dutch, Hungarian, Polish, Czech and US-American teachers, programs in cooperation with universities in Germany, the US, Israel and other places; intensive co-operation with German and international memorial sites (like Terezin, Westerbork etc.)

  • Concrete challenges I am facing in my “dealing with the past”-related work:

    Being able to deal with the past, means to get a needed insight, to understand the risks of Modern Societies; dealing with and confronting “conflicting memories”, helps to develop a multiperspective view on today’s societies, as well, and their foundings. It enables us to seek for peaceful means of dealing with current conflicts, and to develop an open-minded view, together with different partners.

  • My personal link to/interest for the topic of “dealing with difficult pasts”:
    I am in this subject, since I was 15-years-old. As a trained historian, educator and psychologist, I am especially interested in dilemmas, ambivalence and human capacity in dealing with psychological resistance, denial and all kinds of derealisation; as a more-or-less orthodox Freudian person, this is what makes me tick. Easy answers to difficult questions do no trigger me, at all. And, usually, the questions around the past, especially about “difficult pasts”, never seem to be easy….