The Initiative

Self-understanding of the Initiative of Educators at the Memorial Mauthausen-Gusen

The Initiative of Educators (Guides) at the Memorial Mauthausen-Gusen is an initiative by and for educators of the international memorial Mauthausen-Gusen. The Initiative represents the interests and positions of the colleagues therein.

Year after year educators accompany people visiting the former Nazi concentration camp in various tour formats and in different. As so-called “freie Dienstnehmer_innen” (=persons with a free service contract) the educators are institutionally poorly integrated in the Federal Institute, which the Memorial became in 2017. Only if the educators organise themselves, they can positively influence their conditions of employment. For that reason, the Initiative of Educators formed in 2013.

The diversity within the pool of educators (various educational backgrounds, expertise, life experience, …) poses an advantage in educational work but becomes an obstacle of organisation. Due to us working on our own and never gathering all in one place, it is difficult for us to act as a collective. We want to overcome this distance. The Initiative of Educators at the Memorial Mauthausen-Gusen shall create space for as many educators as possible in order to find a common language and by encouraging communication, to negotiate and sharpen our understanding of our work at the memorial. In a well-structured and collectively designed form of decision-making, we aim to start processes at this site of historico-political education, in order to better the general framework of our work. We approach our employer, the Federal Office Memorial Mauthausen-Gusen, with our needs and interests, as well as suggestions and proposals considering our pedagogic work.

The Initiative of educators does not limit itself to contractual, formal or labour-law related issues. A central demand is the continued existence and further development of the professional educational work at the memorial as well as the implementation of measures we consider necessary to this end. Thereby the position we take can be new/different to the official national commemorative-discourse. The Initiative acts as an internal network, but furthermore the Initiative proclaims its ideas within the general public.

Every educator at the memorial is welcome to be part of the Initiative and can freely choose in what form and how much they want to get involved. Meetings are being held on a regular basis. These are open and directly democratic. Hence, all educators have the possibility to communicate their needs, wishes and ideas. At the meetings mentioned, delegates can be elected in order to represent our interests and positions at (public) events or negotiations – yet only to the degree legitimized by the coordination meetings. Necessary decisions that have not been debated prior will be brought back to the assembly. It is intended to make decisions on consensual basis.