Monitoring hate crimes and victim assistance in Poland and Germany

Since January 2008, Potsdam-based association »Opferperspektive« („victim’s perspective“) has a new research project. It aims to explore approaches for monitoring right-wing motivated violence in Germany and Poland as well as non-governmental assistance for victims of such attacks in the two countries.

GERMAN VERSIONPOLISH VERSION

Funded by the German foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”, the project’s goal is to provide opportunity for enhanced exchange of experiences in the field. Also, it intends to develop prospects for a better trans-national co-operation between victim support initiatives in the two countries.

At first, an overview will be assembled covering Polish and German NGOs and institutions in the field of monitoring/ documentation as well as victim assistance. The survey will include the organisations’ working methods and ways to tackle “hate crimes”.

Whereas there are quite a few reports on victim counselling organisations in Eastern Germany (many of them being funded by the German or provincial governments), the field is far less researched concerning Western Germany and virtually no knowledge exists concerning Poland. Thus the co-operation with Warsaw-based organisation “Nigdy Więcej” (“Never Again”) is of specific importance to the project. Founded in 1996, “Nigdy Więcej” regularly reports on right-wing violence and racist attacks in its journal of the same title. Today, “Nigdy Więcej” has more than 100 volunteers across Poland and thus belongs to Poland’s most important anti-fascist and anti-racist initiatives www.nigdywiecej.org.

The six Polish and German project staff used two initial workshops in January (Warsaw) and February (Berlin) to acquaint themselves with the countries’ situations concerning right-wing tendencies as well as with social and legal frameworks for the struggle against right-wing extremism, antisemitism, racism and homophobia.

In March and April, political initiatives, NGOs and self-organisations of potential victims in Poland and Germany will be interviewed by the two teams. Until July 2008, an English-language report shall be drafted, which will be made available to and can be discussed by interested organisations and research institutions.

The project will be finished by a public conference in mid-September 2008. Taking place close to the German-Polish Border, it will serve as a forum for discussion of the draft report as well as for networking and developing prospects for specific co-operation projects in the close future. For additional information or suggestions, please, contact: