Dr. Helge Heidemeyer works at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. It is located on the site of the main political prison of the former East German Communist Ministry of State Security, the Stasi. His work aims to show young generations who have only experienced freedom and democracy, what Germany’s past is made up of. In his opinion, addressing a dictatorial past helps us learn what democracy is. Every ‘remembering’ then reveals how a state dictatorship is fundamentally different from democracy in terms of its fundamental understanding of leadership and legitimacy. It is therefore important to teach history in a critical manner, where we can understand that different ways of dealing with history are possible. Dr. Heidemeyer also presents in this interview an important concept of how to hold and preserve memory, especially when a time will come when eyewitnesses no longer exist.
This interview is part of the interview series ” Expert Voices on Memory Politics” realized with the financial support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Kanada and the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union. The interviews were recorded during the October 2022 conference “Addressing the Past – Shaping the Future”.