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International Holocaust Memorial Day: Volkswagen Apprentices as Guests at the UN and the German Parliament

February 2007

Apprentices from Volkswagen plants take part in memorial services at the United Nations in Geneva and in the German parliament

Wolfsburg, 29 January 2007 - Volkswagen apprentices were guests at the United Nations in Geneva and in the German parliament for the second international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust on Monday. Last year 60 motivated young people from Volkswagen visited the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial site. As representatives for these colleagues, two apprentices travelled to Geneva and six to Berlin.

Jan Peters (18) from Hanover travelled with five other Volkswagen apprentices to the commemoration ceremony at the German parliament in Berlin. Jan went to Oswieçim for the first time in May 2006 with the Volkswagen exchange programme. "The intense experiences I went through there changed my view of things", explained the young man.
The head of Volkswagen Coaching, Jürgen Haase also participated in the ceremony. Volkswagen Coaching organises and administers the trips made by the apprentices to the memorial sites. "The meetings of young people are very important for the culture of remembrance at Volkswagen", he explained. "The remembrance can only be maintained if as many young people as possible can relate their personal impressions to others".

Apprentice addresses the United Nations in Geneva

Timo Voges (23) from Hanover received a special recognition: he was asked by the International Auschwitz Committee to speak to the United Nations in Geneva about his project work in Auschwitz. Timo travelled to the UN commemoration with the Wolfsburg apprentice Sandra Morabito (18). "It was an honour to speak to such high-ranking people", said Timo. "It is, however, more important that the memory of the Holocaust is kept alive." He travelled with Sandra to the concentration camp memorial site in May of last year. It was an experience that has left a lasting impression on both of them.

The UN was also addressed by the renowned Holocaust researcher Prof. Irwin Cotler and a survivor of the Holocaust.

The meeting of youth in Auschwitz

Four times a year, apprentices from Volkswagen travel to the International Youth Meeting Centre Oswieçim/Auschwitz (IYMC) for two weeks. They live and work there with young Polish people and help, for example, with the work of maintaining the site of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. A meeting with survivors of the Holocaust is also part of the programme.

More than 1,000 young people from Volkswagen have taken part in this programme in Poland over the past 20 years. The cooperation with IYMC, the International Auschwitz Committee, the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial site and Volkswagen AG has the full support of both the management and the employee representation. These youth meetings are an integral part of the company's culture of remembrance. Moreover, trainees also worked on the setting up of the "Place of Remembrance of Forced Labor in the Volkswagen Factory", which is open to the public in the Wolfsburg plant.

Source: Volkswagen AG


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