Yearly meeting of the ASF Volunteers at CegeSoma
On 19 June, the yearly meeting of the ASF volunteers and their project partners took place in the conference room of CegeSoma.
For 60 years, the ASF (Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste), an association founded by opponents of Nazism, sends each year some 170 young German volunteers to countries where the population has suffered from the crimes committed by the Nazis during the Second World War. The first ASF volunteers arrived in Belgium in 1963.
The goal of these young people's commitment is to cooperate for reconciliation and peace, and to fight racism, discrimination and social exclusion.
In Belgium, some fifteen volunteers are distributed over a number of structures that develop social, educational or historical projects, among which CegeSoma and the State Archives in Eupen.
CegeSoma et ASF … an ongoing story …
CegeSoma has collaborated with ASF since 2009, and has hosted some ten volunteers since then.
The objective of this collaboration has always been a 'win win' situation. The volunteer is completely integrated in the institution, more specifically in the Documentation sector (Archives, Library, Audiovisual, reading room and digitalization of documents). By participating in the different activities of this sector, the volunteer will have the opportunity to become familiar with period and current documents, to be in contact with the reading room visitors, and to see how a documentation centre functions.
Apart from these tasks, the volunteers have the opportunity to develop new skills, deepen their understanding of history and strengthen a critical mind by participating in the project “Exile in Belgium / Das Andere Deutschland'. This project focusses on the immigration of German refugees to Belgium between 1933 and 1940 and provides volunteers the opportunity to carry out research at the Royal Library and discover archives from the Foreigners' Police at the National Archives. The result may take a different shape each year: small exhibition, presentation of a life story, interviews with families …
To complete their programme, the volunteers attend language courses and spend one day a week with Convivial (non-profit organization that support refugees).
Apart from all these apprenticeships, there is the learning to live together in the workspace: the conversations with colleagues at lunchtime, being part of a team, to be confronted with difficulties …
Summary of this collaboration
Year after year, CegeSoma has the pleasure to meet idealistic, positive and enterprising young people full of dedication.
It admires their ability of learning languages and carrying out the different tasks that are entrusted to them.
It also admires the association (ASF) that accompanies these young people in a remarkable and professional way.
Finally, CegeSoma has the pleasure to be able to contribute to a European citizen's project to which it can give a real message. Undoubtedly, this formula has a bright future at the State Archives.
Above a few pictures of the yearly meeting of ASF volunteers and their project partners (yearly meeting which took place at CegeSoma on 19.6.2018).