In September, the time had finally come and we were able to start the first events of the series “Memoria Viva. Latin America on the move”.
Open Monument Day
On September 10, the nationwide Open Monument Day took place under the motto “Talent. Monument” took place. This was the 30th anniversary and we were represented for the first time with our library – the former Havkenscheid mourning hall, which has been a listed building since 2015.
In fantastic weather, the Fritz Bauer Library opened its doors at 10 a.m. for this year’s Open Monument Day. Things got underway at 10 a.m. with a brief tour of the site, followed by a lecture by Arne Keilmann, a social scientist whose research focuses on the history of architecture during the Nazi era and the early FRG. He is also a grandson of the architect Ferdinand Keilmann, after whose design the former Havkenscheid Funeral Hall was built. Ferdinand Keilmann joined the NSDAP in 1932, went through the denazification process twice after 1945 and played a major role in the reconstruction of the city of Bochum. In his lecture, Arne Keilmann offered an exciting mixture of expert knowledge and personal insights, which he illustrated with many pictures and documents.
In the afternoon, Arne Keilmann, together with Irmtrud Wojak, was available for further questions and discussions. In a large circle of visitors, he continued to report on his research and critically classified the career of his grandfather. There were also two other tours of the library and the construction site.
Survivors of the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973 tell their story
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, survivors who found asylum in Bochum spoke for the first time about their personal experiences of that day. They are all united by their witnessing of the brutal military coup that led to the overthrow of Salvador Allende’s government and that would dramatically change Chile for many years to come.
A total of five survivors told an eager audience how they perceived the day from their own personal perspective. Among them was Pedro Crovetto, who was a member of the Communist Youth at the time and returned to Chile only 10 days before the coup. Annamaria Díaz, who looked at the day with concern for the future of her daughter, who was only two months old, and yet provided news to friends and comrades on the day of the coup. Iván Saldias, member of a leftist revolutionary group, whose moving letter was read by Cornelia Baumgart. Mario Aguilar, who was a student on the day of the coup and told of the democratic resistance at his school, and Carlos Gonzáles, who, like many other pro-constitutional members of the military, was arrested even before the actual coup. For us it was a moving evening that left us with admiration for the courage of the survivors. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the survivors for sharing their stories with us.
For those of you who were unable to attend the event, you will find the stories on our YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
Reading and film with Günther Wessel on September 13
On September 13, Berlin-based author and journalist Günther Wessel came to the Fritz Bauer Forum and presented his new book “Salvador Allende. A Chilean Story” in front of many interested listeners. In an exciting conversation he reported on the political career of Salvador Allende and the current situation in Chile. After a small refreshment for the registered participants of the reading, the film “Allende, mi Abuelo Allende” by director Marcia Tambutti Allende was shown in the Fritz Bauer Library. In the film, Salvador Allende’s granddaughter goes in search of traces within her own family and gets to know the past in a whole new way through photographs and conversations.
Book launch “Disappeared and Murdered” with Dorothee Weitbrecht and Valeria Vegh Weis on Sept. 21
For the book launch of the newly published book “Disappeared and murdered. European Victims of the El Vesubio Detention and Torture Camp in Argentina”, we were able to welcome two scholars to the Fritz Bauer Library on September 21. On the one hand, Dr. Dorothee Weitbrecht, historian with a focus on international dictatorship/conflict research and social movements, as well as founder and managing director of the Elisabeth Käsemann Foundation, which promotes intercultural dialogue between Germany, Latin America and Spain on a scientific, political and cultural level. She is the niece of Elisabeth Käsemann, who was assassinated by the Argentine military. On the other hand, Valeria Vegh Weis, a lawyer specializing in Criminology and Transitional Justice at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and the National University of Quilmes (Argentina). She is currently a Research Fellow at the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz, where she is conducting research on the role of human rights and victims’ organizations in dealing with state crimes. An exciting conversation between the two covered topics such as coming to terms with the crimes in El Vesubio, the activism of Elisabeth Käsemann, and the German and Argentine culture of remembrance. In between, a reading of passages from the book took place, during which Magdalena Köhler gave the visitors an understanding of the fate of Elisabeth Käsemann and Juan Miguel Thanhauser. You can buy the book here.
Lecture and discussion with Carlos Margotta on September 24
We were pleased to welcome the President of the Chilean Human Rights Commission, Carlos Margotta Trincado, on September 24. In the Fritz Bauer Library, which was filled to capacity, he gave an interesting lecture on “Justice and Human Rights – Chile 50 years after the military coup”. The subsequent discussion with Pedro Crovetto, economist, social and political scientist, and the audience developed into an exciting discussion on the current situation of human rights and politics in Chile. We would also like to thank Cornelia Baumgart for her precise translation of the lecture and discussion into German.
Film and talk with Dorothee Weitbrecht and Anja Stuckenberger on September 26th
In connection with the book launch of “Disappeared and Murdered. European Victims of the Detention and Torture Camp El Vesubio in Argentina” on Sept. 21, we showed the film “…and that you keep silent for two days under torture!” a week later (directed by Frieder Wagner and Osvaldo Bayer), dedicated to the fate of Elisabeth Käsemann. Elisabeth Käsemann, a native of Gelsenkirchen, was killed by the Chilean military dictatorship in 1977. Following the impressive documentary, Dorothee Weitbrecht, historian, founder of the Elisabeth Käsemann Foundation and niece of Elisabeth Käsemann, offered further insights into coming to terms with the crime and the memory of her aunt in a discussion with Dr. Anja Stuckenberger, director of the Evangelische Stadtakademie Bochum.
Guided tour of the construction site on September 6 and 27
In cooperation with the vhs Bochum we again offered two guided tours of construction sites this month. On September 6 and 27, Jennifer Haas and Magdalena Köhler guided the participants through the grounds of the Fritz Bauer Forum and through the now completed library, which is being built in the listed former Havkenscheid mourning hall.
The focus of the construction site tour was the planning of the conversion of the mourning hall for use as a library and the site as a Forum building. The history of the site and its architect, Ferdinand Keilmann, were also highlighted.
Series of events “Memoria Viva. Latin America on the move” in cooperation with Amnesty International Bochum
October 17, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.: Chile: book presentation and discussion
October 24, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m.: Colombia: book presentation and discussion
October 26, 17.30 – 22.00: Colombia: workshop and film
All dates of the series here.
Tobias Fetzer MA (Press- and Public Relations)