By connecting the past, the present, and the future, one develops a historical consciousness. This is how Stiftelsen Arkivet, through education, hopes to create knowledge and attitudes centred on our shared values of democracy and human dignity.
Every year, approximately 8000 pupils visit Arkivet. In the Gestapo Basement, students hear moving stories about local resistance members who experienced torture during the war. They see authentic instruments of torture and wander through the reconstructed cells. The guides are retirees, and some of them were prisoners at Arkivet themselves. The essence of the programme is a quote from former Prime Minister of Norway and KZ prisoner, Trygve Bratteli: “We shall forgive, but not forget.”
The events shall not be forgotten because there is so much one can learn from them today. After visiting the Gestapo Basement, classes are offered discussions in which issues of today such as war, peace work, human dignity, and bullying are brought in. The humanitarian and peace building organizations located at Arkivet contribute to this part of the programme.
For those in grades upper secondary school, there are theme based programmes developed to discuss democracy, human rights, reconciliation, genocide, and bullying. In these programmes links from history to the different topics are drawn more explicitly.
Stiftelsen Arkivet also offers different programmes in cooperation with “The Cultural School Bag”. In the book Alf, elementary pupils can read about childhood experiences in war. For the programme “The Refugee Shelter,” grammar school pupils sit in a real refugee shelter from the war, and then write about their own personal “refugee shelter”. The students’ own texts are then published on the internet.
A central element in several of our educational programmes is that pupils themselves are able to publish writings and digital stories on our internet pages, and communicate directly with each other. At Stiftelsen Arkivet’s website, there are constantly new opportunities for students and teachers. Particularly, the program “Norway and Agder during the Second World War” is much used.