Good things come to those who wait!

After the planned event "Repair the world - hope, human dignity, democracy - learning from Louis Lowy" had to be postponed twice due to the pandemic, the symposium finally took place on June 10, 2022. Deeply impressed by the very successful event, I am responding to the Board's request to write a short summary and share my impressions.

First, the organisers and cooperation partners (IASWG President Jenny Vest, IBS - Simone Holzapfel, katho – Prof. Dr. Marianne Genenger-Stricker and Bildungsbüro StädteRegion Aachen - Dr. Sascha Derichs) their connections to Louis Lowy.

Professor Joachim Wieler, Hamburg, described his connection to Louis and Ditta Lowy as well as to Professor Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella, author of the book on the life and work of Louis. He thanked the German Chapter of the IASWG for their support in translating and publishing the book - especially Klaus-Martin Ellerbrock.

Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella was digitally connected and gave an impressive lecture, based on her book, on the life and work of Louis Lowy. (Thanks to the preparation team for printing out the German translation). Afterwards, there was a lively exchange. The offer to ask Lorrie questions was well received. Due to the current political developments, Lowy's life's work is highly topical and the main question was about the transfer - what can we learn from Lowy?

For me, the following quote from Lorrie describes the essence: "Drawing on contemporary research, we can see how group work with Jewish survivors can enhance individual and communal trauma healing by preserving cultural memory, promoting citizenship and inspiring hope.

In the afternoon workshops, there were opportunities to focus on different areas, to make transfers to one's own work. Thanks to Steffen Mingenbach, Simone Holzapfel, Andrea Schotten, Professor Dr. N. Frieters-Reermann, Lisa Khan and Ahmet Sinoplu for their great commitment, which enabled an intensive exchange on the topic.

The event was rounded off by in-depth final discussions between the organisers on the podium and Lorrie Greenhouse Gardelle through the digital connection.

With great appreciation for all who had contributed to the success of this day, Jenny Vest thanked all with flowers. The fantastic catering provided by Katho Aachen not only ensured the physical well-being, but also the good atmosphere, and the reliable translations of Anne Röseler were very helpful for many participants.

From my side, I would especially like to thank my colleagues from the IASWG: Andrea, Klaus-Martin and Steffen, for their long-suffering and the great organisation of the symposium which will stay with me for a long time! In a structured, friendly manner, Petra Ganz led the participants through the day with a pleasant lightness.

Ulrike Overs

Giving people their rights

Study day on Louis Lowy

Current crisis situations such as the war in the Ukraine, the Corona pandemic, the flood disaster or the dissolution of a social consensus in digital filter bubbles are stressing many people. How pedagogy and social work can contribute to a more successful everyday life and to more social justice, even under extreme conditions, was the topic of the study day "Repair the world" at the Katho (University of applied sciences) in Aachen. The work of Louis Lowy, memorised by Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella (Professor of Social Work, Southern Cenneticut State University, USA) in her lecture, offered the 60 or so participants an orientation.  In four workshops, suggestions for our living, learning and working together were deepened.

As persecuted person of the Nazi regime, Lowy created spaces of hope and made human dignity possible under extreme conditions in the Ghetto in Theresienstadt and the Deggendorf Displaced Persons Camp through  groupwork.

Lowy's close connection to Aachen as a centre of education was also highlighted: after the Second World War the Holocaust survivor Lowy supported the establishment of the social work course at the katho in Aachen and contributed his ideas to the Aachen curriculum for Social Groupwork and Supervision. "With its core values such as the provision basic needs, the healing of suffering, the promotion of social participation and lifelong learning, Lowy helped shape social group work," says Jennifer Vest, the president of the German Chapter of IASWG.

In the concluding panel discussion, initiatives from the region presented how at present social work and education support people under extreme conditions. One example is the social tent run by students of the  Catholic Church on Willy-Brandt-Platz in Stolberg after the flood disaster in July 2021. Obaida Dehna and Kerstin Gutknecht reported on how they provided low-threshold support for people affected by the floods. "In this crisis situation, it was important to be there for the people, to listen to their concerns and to help them get their rights," says Professor Marianne Genenger-Stricker, who accompanied the students.

This event was jointly organised by katho NRW, Transfernetzwerk Soziale Innovation - s_inn, Institute for Counselling and Supervision Aachen, Gesellschaft für Social Groupwork and the Education Office of the StädteRegion Aachen.

Studientag „Repair the world – Hoffnung, Menschenwürde, Demokratie von Louis Lowy lernen“

Nachtrag zum Studientag >>

Jetzt anmelden: 10.06.2022, 10:00-16:30 Uhr – katho NRW, Abteilung Aachen

102 Jahre nach Louis Lowys Geburt soll ein Studientag Anlass für eine Auseinandersetzung mit Anregungen Lowys für unser Zusammenleben, -lernen und -arbeiten sein. Mit dem Studientag „Repair the world“ am 10.06.2022 (10:00-16:30 Uhr) sollen das Werk Louis Lowys in Erinnerung gebracht und ein Transfer für eine solidarische, menschenwürdige und rassismuskritische Gesellschaft hergestellt werden.

Ein Vortrag von Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella (Southern Connecticut State University, USA) und sechs Workshops bieten eine vertiefte Beschäftigung mit dem Wirken Louis Lowys und praktische Übungen für einen Transfer in die heutige Zeit. Was braucht eine solidarische Gesellschaft heute? Welche Verantwortung kann jede*r Einzelne übernehmen? Welche Beiträge können Soziale Arbeit und Pädagogik leisten?

Als Verfolgter des NS-Regimes hat Lowy unter extremen Bedingungen im Ghetto Theresienstadt und Displaced Persons Camp Deggendorf durch Gruppenarbeit und Gemeinwesenarbeit Räume geschaffen, welche Hoffnung und Menschenwürde ermöglicht haben. In der Nachkriegszeit hat er mit den Sommerakademien in Europa entscheidend zur Weiterentwicklung der Sozialen Arbeit beigetragen und das im Land seiner Peiniger. Lowys Einsatz diente der Anerkennung, Begegnung und wandte sich gegen Ausgrenzung und Antisemitismus/ Rassismus. Damit ist Lowys Verhalten ein Beispiel für den Einsatz demokratischer Werte wie Menschenwürde und Solidarität.

Zielgruppe sind Sozialarbeiter*innen, Sozialpädagog*innen, Studierende, pädagogische Fachkräfte, zivilgesellschaftlich Engagierte und die interessierte Öffentlichkeit. Der Studientag ist eine Kooperationsveranstaltung von katho NRW, Transfernetzwerk s_inn, Institut für Beratung und Supervision Aachen, Gesellschaft für Social Groupwork und Bildungsbüro der StädteRegion Aachen.

Weiterführende Informationen u. a. zur Anmeldung im Einladungsflyer. >>