Our project not only dealt with the human rights situation in Europe today but also asked about the history of human rights in Europe
- Travelling through Europe and getting to know more about history, we were impressed by suddenly knowing what happened at certain places that seem so normal and humdrum today.
This postcard is especially inspired by one place we visited in Zagreb. It was an ordinary street corner with absolutely nothing special to see. We wondered why our project leader Vera took us there.
Vera explained to us that this was the place where ‘The Wall of Pain (Zid boli)’ used to be. The Wall of Pain had been built in 1993 sponatneously by mothers and relatives of killed and missing soldiers and civilians. The Wall of Pain consists of 13,650 red and black bricks – each one in memory of one person. The wall had been placed around the building where the UN Peace Mission to Croatia had its headquarters. It had been built as an appeal for humanity and human rigts addressed to the UN.
The monument was removed in 2005 and partly moved to a memorial park. Today, you would never guess that this street corner is a place where so many people took action to address the topic of human rights.
This story along with others during our journey made us think that it actually is an important matter to know more about history.
Another place of great historical importance we visited was Nuremberg, once a centre of the Nazi Party, and nowadays a city of peace and human rights. There we met a contemporary witness of the 3rd Reich, Mr. Peer, who told us his story.
During the 3rd Reich people’s worldviews and beliefs were influenced by the Nazi regime through its massive propaganda in the public sphere, in school, in the media and even in leisure time. Most of the citizens were in some way an active or a passive part of a system that discriminated against social, ethnic and religious minorities, a system that was responsible for maltreatment and oppression of other nations and which was responsible for genocide. Mr. Peer was one of the victims. Today, Mr Peer is active in human rights education.
These are his words said during our conversation with him:
“We want to show you how easily one can be misled, how easy it is to be cheated of one’s ideals. You know, as an adolescent, you believe, you think that you have all the skills in the world. And then, suddenly, you realize that everything was wrong, that you were excited about something which was totally criminal. And this is why I do it.”
- We were impressed to see the changes that are possible within one person’s lifetime. You can be a victim of Human Rights violations, a violator of Human Rights and a fighter for Human Rights education – all in one life time.
We think that all of us should make sure that those who fight for Human Rights are not just forgotten so that we can still learn from their experiences and their courage.