Refik Veseli Schule
The Jewish Museum Berlin’s Partner School
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.
VOIDS.Leerstellen: A Dramatic Tour of the Museum’s Architecture
Twenty-six grade 8 students (age 13) investigated the museum’s architecture in September 2016 for four weeks, becoming experts on the space. They created an open-ended format in between a performance and an interactive tour.
This student project was the third theater production in the School and Museum initiative. The goal of the joint project was to incorporate the Refik Veseli School’s focus on theater into the school’s partnership with the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Jewish Museum is a cultural partner of the Cultural Agents for Creative Schools program, which spearheaded and helped develop the school’s theatrical focus.
Student Film: The Middle East Conflict: A History Workshop Research Project, 2016
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 28-minute film (in German) 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. All interviewees speak for themselves. The film does not represent the opinions of the authors .
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.