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Exploring lesser known historical places and discovering untold stories

Untold Stories | Places of Memory

Do you ever wonder about the lesser known stories, communities, and places in the historical context of Nazi injustice and atrocities in Europe? Our project “Untold Stories | Places of Memory” is a series of stories uncovering lesser known history and places in the context of Nazi injustices.

For our project we invited Humanity in Action Fellows and Senior Fellows to conduct study trips to European destinations of their choice. To this end, they received a supporting Research and Travel Stipend. We focus on three topics or any combination thereof: Antisemitism, Racism, and the discrimination of and hatred towards the LGBTQIA+ community during Nazi oppression and its impact on today’s societies. We are interested in the politics and complexities of memory as well as how communities remember their past and the related sites.

Silencing a Jewish Past

Directed by: Nikos Vrantsis (Greece)

Salonico, as the then-predominantly Ladino residents called it, was once a city with a thriving Jewish community. Settled there after 1492, they sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire following their purge from Spain. The community thrived over the centuries, accounting for 60,000 out of the 157,000 Thessaloniki inhabitants, but came close to total destruction when the Nazis deported and murdered more than 90% of their community.

Nikos Vrantsis believes that there is a lesson to be learned from this tragic past. He sees a connection between past events and today’s new social divisions drawn on the same basis of property scarcity.

“This short documentary follows the traces of Jewish life in the city of Thessaloniki and finds answers to why its Jewish vibrance was silenced”

The Poetry of Amelia Roselli

Directed by: Sabrina Anna

Millions of people today are fleeing oppression and being forced into exile for their safety. Multilingual poet and anti-fascist activist Amelia Rosselli attempted to translate her experience of exile into words. As a consequence of her father Carlo Rosselli’s anti-facist work against Mussolini, Amelia was condemned to a life in exile before she was even born. This is the story of her poetry, and why it can at times feel so disorienting and unknown.

“How does one put feelings of exile into words?”

Life “Unworthy” of Living

Directed by: Dr. Tomasz Cebulki

The director of the short film “Life ‘Unworthy’ of Living”, Tomasz Cebulski believes that the way society treats people with disabilities directly reflects our morality and humanity. For his research, he visited two former psychiatric institutions where people with disabilities were murdered in the 1940s as part of Nazi Germany’s euthanasia program.

What can we learn from history? How do we stop political and social discrimination against people with disabilities today?

“Can our inability to be compassionate lead to genocide?”

Places that Whisper

Directed by: Nikola Lero

Nikola Lero is determined to bring the whispers of Holocaust memory in Bosnia and Herzegovina to a larger audience and address the lack of memory around certain spaces that used to be important for Bosnian Jews. In ‘Places that Whisper,’ Nikola examines what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina during World War II, where 70% of the Jewish population did not survive the atrocities of the Holocaust by the end of the war.

“Besides the heritage of pain, engraved in a couple of stones, we won’t see much”

Our Traumas

Directed by: Beata Siemieniako

Before 1943, 67% of the population of Krynki, Poland was Jewish. Today, there are no Jews left. This is the story of Beata, who explores her family’s relationship to Krynki, the town where her father and grandfather were born and where she would spend most summers as a kid. Unaware of the tragedies that occurred under the ruins where she used to play as a child, Beata’s research reveals the value and pain of looking into one’s own family history.

“What do you actually know about your town’s history? What about your family’s history?”

Partners & Supporters

This project is funded by the Foundation EVZ and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF).

The project takes place in partnership with Humanity in Action Netherlands.

The project takes place in partnership with Humanity in Action Poland.

Become a Fellow

Every year, new Humanity in Action Fellows come together in six cities across Europe and the United States to study how and why people confront intolerance and protect democratic values.

01 Year duration

06 Locations

135 Fellows per year