Since June 2012, a close educational partnership has linked the Refik Vesli School in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, an integrated secondary school, with the Jewish Museum Berlin.
In September of that year, the two institutions began collaborating on a weekly elective course called “History Workshop” with students in grades 9 and 10 (ages 14–15).
Other projects have been added over the years. Here is an overview.
Exhibition "A Is for Jewish"
From September 2017 to July 2018, over a hundred school students from three Berlin schools had their hand in the exhibition A Is for Jewish, on show at the Jewish Museum Berlin from 26 November 2018 to 30 September 2019.
In the exhibition, interviews with Berlin musicians, for example, that were prepared and conducted by young people from the Refik Veseli School can be heard. In addition, the students developed various theatrical formats such as The Game of Life, which they show in the program surrounding the exhibition.
Some of the school students who reflected on the exhibition themes over a period of 18 months went on to found the youth committee Schattenmuseum (Shadow museum) in September 2018. They present their ideas and comments in a blog in the exhibition (to the German language blog).
The participation process was conceived and carried out by the artist collective sideviews in collaboration with the Jewish Museum Berlin.
The project was supported by the Friends of the Jewish Museum, the Cultural Agents for Creative Schools program, the Berlin Cultural Education Project Fund, and the Refik Veseli School.
The project VOIDS.MuseumUnLearn in April 2017 was a research project conducted by school students from the Refik Veseli School about the Jewish Museum Berlin on how a museum can attract and be relevant for young people. The school students asked museum visitors, passers-by in the neighborhood, and employees how they perceived the museum and how they feel a museum for young people should look.
Above all, however, the young people themselves considered what a museum has to offer so that they want to visit. In a symposium that they organized, they discussed with visitors and museum staff why exhibition texts could not be written in a simpler style, why there were no texts in Turkish, Arabic or Hebrew, why the museum had not set up a chill corner for young people and how or whether young people would be involved in the museum’s exhibitions in the future.
The project was conceived and implemented by the artist collective sideviews in collaboration with the Jewish Museum Berlin, and supported by the Friends of the Jewish Museum, the Berlin Projects Funds for Cultural Education and the Refik Veseli School.
App through X-BRG: A Digital City Walk to Places of Resistance in Kreuzberg
School students from the Refik Veseli School in Kreuzberg together with the Jewish Museum Berlin developed a digital treasure hunt for adults and young people aged 13 and over. The treasure hunt leads to places of resistance in Berlin-Kreuzberg and is all about questions such as: “Who do we see in the urban space? Who don’t we see? Which stories are told? (to the “App through X-BRG”).
VOIDS.Leerstellen: A Dramatic Tour of the Museum’s Architecture
A group of 26 eighth grade pupils undertook a research project on the museum architecture in September 2016. Four weeks long they explored the architecture and became experts on the space. The result was an open format between performance and interactive guided tour as well as an exhibition curated by school students in the museum’s Eric F. Ross Gallery.
The school students’ project was the third theatrical production by School and Museum. Interlinking the Refik Veseli School’s cultural profile Theater with the activities of the Jewish Museum Berlin is the aim of the cooperation. The project was carried out by director Anja Scheffer and stage designer Henrik Scheel from sideviews in cooperation with the Jewish Museum and the Cultural Agents for Creative Schools program. Several productions and cooperation formats have been created since 2016, such as the productions Golem or VOIDS.MuseumUnlearn.
Student Film: The Middle East Conflict: A History Workshop Research Project
In cooperation with the Jewish Museum Berlin, grade 9 students (age 14) from the History Workshop asked Berliners from Palestinian and Israeli families what they thought about the conflict in the Middle East. After a research stage, during which the students met the educators Shemi Shabat and Mohamed Ibrahim, they made lists of questions on the topic, which developed into the interview questions.
The participants in the film talk about their experiences with discrimination and prejudice, their views about media coverage, the beginnings of the State of Israel, and the (im)possibility of resolving the conflict.
A New Name for the School: Refik Veseli
Students, parents, and teachers of the Eighth Integrated Secondary School democratically decided to rename themselves the Refik Veseli School. Refik Veseli was a 17-year-old apprentice at a photography studio in Tirana, Albania, when he met the Jewish photographer Mosche Mandil, who had fled Yugoslavia to escape the Nazis. But in 1943 the Germans invaded Albania too, and things became much more dangerous for Jews. The Veseli family, which was Muslim, decided to hide Mosche Mandil and his family at their house in Kruja. It turned out to be a three-year commitment. The Mandil family survived.
Timeline of Past Projects as Part of the School Partnership
- 2015: Trip to the Holy Land: What the Media Don’t Show – During a ten-day trip to Israel and Palestine, students captured their impressions in photographs and assembled them into an online exhibition.
- 2013: Turkey by Day and by Night – A student photography exhibition. In June 2013, we accompanied thirty-four students and five teachers on a ten-day trip to Turkey. The destinations included Istanbul, Izmir, and the Afacan “encounter center.” The itinerary in Istanbul included a gathering with students from the local Jewish school and visits to mosques, synagogues, and churches. In Izmir, we traced the footsteps of Jewish history. With Afacan as our base, we visited the ancient city of Bergama (Pergamon). The trip was made possible by financial support from the Umverteilen! Foundation.
- 2012: X-Berg, My Name – A student film: everything about the film, from the concept to the camerawork, was done by students in grade 9 (age 14). They asked residents of the Kreuzberg district about Kreuzberg.
Final Products: Projects by School Groups (3)
Projects by School Groups
Projects by school and youth groups produce exhibitions, films, online documentation, and more.
Films and documentation from History Workshop projects
Films, tours, and online exhibits by students at our partner school, the Refik Veseli School
on.tour Pays a Visit to the Juvenile Detention Center
In 2008, the Jewish Museum Berlin initiated its first project week at the Plötzensee juvenile offenders’ institution
Kosher – Don't You Have That in Islam, Too?
An unusual exchange program organized by the on.tour mobile museum
Through X-BRG by App (in German)
A Digital City Walk past Sites of Resistance in Kreuzberg
Congratulations to the Refik-Veseli-School!
About our partner school’s name change and its special namesake
The Game of Life
Come and play in our exhibition A Is for Jewish
14 December 2018
A Is for Jewish
Journeys through Now in 22 Letters
26 Nov 2018 to 19 Apr 2020