Announcement of Regional Winners in the German History Competition

German History Competion certificate 2019 | Photo: Körber-Stiftung
German History Competion certificate 2019 | Photo: Körber-Stiftung

About 5,600 pupils conducted research in the current German History Competition entitled “Enough Is Enough - Crisis, Change, a New Beginning”. The Körber Foundation received a total of 1,992 contributions from teams and individuals. This constitutes the highest number of entries since 1993. In a first step, the 500 regional prize winners have now been announced.

Pupils researched major events in history, such as the struggle for women's suffrage, the revolution of 1848, storm surges in history and the student movement of 1968. They also looked at smaller events that influenced people's lives.They often interviewed contemporary witnesses within their own families. Numerous participants who dealt with the decline of the German coal industry and the resulting structural change, for example, spoke to coalminers who worked in the former coalfields. In view of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, many young historians examined the traces left by the GDR and reunification to this day. The participants also frequently linked flight and expulsion after the Second World War with today's stories of flight. "The results of the current competition show that the topic has hit a nerve with the young people. Rarely has the variety of topics been as wide as this year," says Gabriele Woidelko, Head of the History and Politics Department at the Körber Foundation.

Apart from gaining inside information by interviewing contemporary witnesses, archival research remains important: almost half of the contributions are based on source work in archives, but extracurricular learning venues such as museums and memorials were also frequently used for finding topics and doing research. Searching the internet, the young people often concluded, was only of limited use for their research. "By taking part in the history competition, pupils also learn how to deal with sources and facts. An important tool in the digital age," says Ms Woidelko. The competition also promotes creativity, as the results showed: in addition to written contributions, videos, podcasts and exhibitions were also submitted.

This summer, the regional prizewinners will be awarded at festive state awards ceremonies in all federal states. On 19 November, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will honour the five first prize winners at the federal level at Schloss Bellevue in Berlin.

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