German Federal President Calls for Participation in History Competition

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer
German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier | Photo: David Ausserhofer

"Enough Is Enough - Crisis, Change, a New Beginning" is the topic of the 26th call for entries for the Federal President's History Competition. From 1 September 2018 to 28 February 2019, all children and young people in Germany under the age of 21 will be invited to search for historical traces.

“The notion of crisis is apparently omnipresent not only in the current news situation. Crises have always shaped history", says Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "It's not always about big politics: time and again, people have responded very concretely and locally to critical developments - for example with environmental initiatives - and have thus sometimes triggered major social changes”. So this year's competition will focus on a wide range of topics: From the dissolution of the craft guilds by industrialisation to revolutionary upheavals by the 'sailors' uprising' to the democratic upheaval by the civil rights movement in the GDR. The form in which the pupils work out a historical question and whether they do it alone, in groups or in class is left to their creativity.

Tracing History

German competition poster
German competition poster

Dealing with how crises, changes and new beginnings of the past have been perceived locally also calls for a closer look at people's respective possibilities for action. It is important to understand how they reacted in states of emergency and how coping successfully or failing to cope affected living together. "This year's competition is highly topical. The historical examples encourage children and young adults to reflect on how current crises can be overcome productively. The search for historical traces sharpens our awareness of the differences between upheaval, turning points and real crises. And it shows how change can, under certain circumstances, turn into a new beginning", explains Gabriele Woidelko, Head of Department History and Politics at the Körber Foundation.

Offers for Patricipants and Tutors

The magazine "Spurensuchen" (“tracing history”) has been published for the competition. In addition to the official application documents, it contains numerous topic ideas and tips for participation. The enclosed project booklet for pupils provides a brief guide through all phases of project work and can be used by younger participants as a research diary. In cooperation with local partners, free kick-off events and teacher workshops on the new competition will take place in all federal states. On history competition’s website, educational materials and other offers regarding the competition theme and participation are available. Special prizes will also be awarded in this competition round: The WDR radio programme 'ZeitZeichen' is offering four prizes for the best podcasts. And the magazine 'GEOlino Zeitreise' awards five prizes for particularly creative group contributions in the age group up to grade 6. The history competition is also present in the social media: on Facebook and Instagram all participants are invited to share impressions and experiences of their search for traces with other young people by using the hashtags #MeineSpurensuche and #geschichtswettbewerb.

About the German History Competition

The Körber Foundation has been organising the Federal President's History Competition since 1973. With more than 141,000 participants and around 31,500 projects to date, it is the largest historical research competition for young people in Germany.

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