by Larissa Henkst, Museum Intern
I am Larissa Henkst, 18 years old, from Germany and a new intern at the museum for a whole year.
I have just graduated from school and am doing International Youth Voluntary Service organised by Action Reconciliation Service for Peace at the Jewish Museum.
ARSP was founded in the early 1950s in Germany to rehabilitate the history of World War II and the Holocaust. Every year the organisation sends over 150 volunteers to 13 different countries which suffered under German oppression during the war, or countries in which a lot of Jewish Refugees and Holocaust survivors found a new home. The UK, Israel, Poland and the Netherlands are just some examples. The aims of these voluntary services are to reconcile, to foster the international dialogue and to keep the remembrance of the Holocaust “alive” so that history never repeats and to preserve peace.
The Jewish Museum has hosted ARSP volunteers for years, but I am the first for a couple of years.
Most of the time here I spend within the Learning Team as a volunteer in school workshops about Judaism, Jewish history in England or the Holocaust. My responsibilities include helping pupils exploring the gallery, doing some research for the workshops or helping to set up the facilities before arrival of the groups.
I normally spend the remaining time in the Visitor Service Team. My tasks in this department vary nearly every time I join them. From volunteering in the shop to walking around the museum and checking evacuation chairs which could be used in case of an emergency; everything is possible.
In general I gain a lot of different impressions of how a museum works and is run behind the scenes. The most important thing to me is that I receive a lot of knowledge about Jewish history and culture. Due to well known, horrible and sad reasons there isn’t a big Jewish community in Germany and I am really grateful that I have the chance to meet many great and interesting people and to see Judaism celebrated in everyday life as well.
In the upcoming months I will share some of my experiences and impressions here with you. If you are interested in knowing how a German, soon-to-be “Grown-Up”, is doing at the Jewish Museum in London just follow the museum’s blog.
Thanks a lot for having me and hope to see you soon in the museum!