On May 1st, 2019 the Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme founded a new committee to represent 3rd and 4th generation descendants of victims and survivors of the Neuengamme concentration camp. It will focus on building a global network of descendants, supporting family history research and developing educational material for remembrance education.
The Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme (AIN) is an international association of the national organizations of survivors of the Neuengamme concentration camp as well as the families and friends of former prisoners of the Neuengamme concentration camp. Founded in 1958 by organizations from Belgium, France and West Germany, soon other national organizations joined the AIN. Among them organizations from Denmark, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
"Today, 74 years after the end of the Second World War, we noticed that also the younger generations are looking for answers about their (great-)grandparents. They also are looking for a new way to express themselves and engage in the preservation of peace. The Young Committee is the answer to their needs.", says Tom Devos (Belgium), Vice-President of the Young Committee and a fourth generation descendant.
Swenja Granzow-Rauwald (Germany), President of the Young Committee and a third generation descendant adds: "We are a group of third and fourth generation descendants who feel passionate about the work the Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme which focuses on the survivors and the families of the victims of the associated national organizations, is an important contributor to the discourse about remembrance culture and supports the work of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. It is our goal to strengthen the AIN through working on what we call the three pillars of the Young Committee. The first pillar is developing a global network of descendants of victims and survivors of the Neuengamme concentration camp and build a digital community of likeminded people. The second pillar is to support descendants in their family history research. As experienced researchers, we are in close contact with the archives and can act as sort of a router, to put people in the right direction in their language. The third pillar is educating the public about the history of the former prisoners of the Neuengamme concentration camp and its effects on the following generations."
On the evening of May 1st, a founding meeting was held following the first day of the annual "Future of Remembrance" Forum at the Serrahn Kulturhaus in Bergedorf. 3rd and 4th generation descendants from Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands participated. The newly elected board consists of: Swenja Granzow-Rauwald (President), Tom Devos (Vice-President), Tom Lemmens (Treasurer), Halina Kühl (Public Relations), Aurélie Boisseau (Advisor), Nicole Duijkers (Advisor) and Christine Eckel (Liaison AIN). The other founding members are Marc Cauwbergs, Katrin Duerinckx, Franciska Henning, Martine Letterie and Kristof van Mierop.
The first initiative is to create a digital presence in the form of a website and on social media platforms. Meanwhile we are taking our first actions to generate funding for the committee. We plan to hold our first international event in early May 2020 as our contribution to the events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camps.