We all live with the pain of things we may not ourselves have even lived through. As artists, facilitators, and advocates, we are bridging isolation with community, the past with the present, and reclaiming hidden legacies to make a difference that matters in a world that needs our full capacities: to strengthen critical thinking, ease trauma, and dismantle antisemitism, hatred, and all forms of discrimination.

The Unerasure Projekt sparks the transformation of persistent dilemmas — that too often stay private — into meaningful engagement crucial in a world still rife with violence and hatred.


6 May 2024, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust & Heroism Remembrance Day)

The Times of Israel Publishes Article

German students research fates of their school’s Jews to bring Nazi-era horrors home

Against backdrop of October 7 massacres and surge in global antisemitism, US consultant Terry Mandel visits Germany to expand award-winning Holocaust memory project based in Cologne

While standing in Auschwitz on a school field trip, history teacher Dirk Erkelenz envisioned a project in which students at his high school in Cologne, Germany, would research the fate of its Jewish students, the last of whom were expelled by the school during National Socialist rule.

Since 2015, more than 150 students at the Königin-Luise-Schule have taken Erkelenz’s yearlong Special History elective. The acclaimed project includes students reaching out to relatives of the Jewish girls they researched.

“What students are doing is meaningful — they have the feeling that they can do something themselves,” Erkelenz told The Times of Israel.

18 January 2024, Berlin

Dirk Erkelenz & Terry Mandel at Königin Luise Schule, 19 October 2023

We’re thrilled to announce that Dirk Erkelenz, the remarkable history teacher and research scientist whose class assignment seeded The Unerasure Projekt, is one of seven 2024 recipients of the prestigious Obermayer Award, which acknowledges extraordinary German contributions to remembrance culture and anti-racism. Leading his nomination, I met many other descendants  whose lives were also touched by the research his students do into the lives and fates of Jewish girls who, like my mother, attended their school during the Nazi era. Register to watch a rebroadcast of the award ceremony on 29 January 2024 from the famed Rotes Rathaus, home of the Berlin Parliament.

Herr Dr. Erkelenz has asked The Unerasure Projekt to package, adapt, and widely share his pedagogy so as many students around the world as possible can make sense of their own histories through this hands-on experience. Our first experiential learning programs for students, government agencies, and business will launch in Germany this year.


Tragically, erasure is a universal experience. Cultural genocide. Enslavement. Racial, ethnic, and sexual violence. Antisemitism. Islamophobia. Narcissistic oppression. The climate crisis. Corporate castes. Dementia. Trauma. Dissociation. Hatred. Self-hatred. Everyone everywhere has felt the sting of erasure, as targets and likely as perpetrators, as well. It takes many forms, some obvious, some hidden, and can leave scars with intention or ignorance, or both.

It’s clear that dialogue and learning make a real difference, though, so even in these very dark times, we have tremendous hope for the curious, engaged, and cooperative world our programs foster. We’re striking a chord in Germany and already hearing from educators in other countries interested in how Professor Erkelenz’s curriculum and The Unerasure Projekt’s experiential learning programs could help more deeply engage their students in making sense of, and shaping, the world they’ve inherited.

Though it may feel as if nothing you can do matters, your donation* will support a big-picture, long-term vision to reclaim hidden legacies that thwart too many individuals and institutions from contributing at the highest possible level for our shared benefit. Your partnership in this crucial work will literally make a world of difference.

*Donations are tax-deductible for US taxpayers to the extent allowed by law. We are also applying to register as a tax-exempt e.V. in Germany.


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