Evaluating the impact of education is a complex matter. Assessing the level of knowledge, e.g. when did WW II begin, is relatively simple. Evaluating the integration of knowledge and the meanings students draw from information is much more difficult to assess.

Better insight into the experience of visitors and the impact the visit did or did not have on them is needed. The current project thus aims to develop systematic evaluation, which will enable memorials to get a better insight into the experiences of visitors.

The objective is to develop a simple and non-expensive tool relatively easy to implement, so that it may be applied by the memorial staff with a relatively humble investment.

A prevalent attitude which seems to be at the core of the memorials educational work is that the exposure to information about the atrocities will have a positive educational and moral influence. Thus for decades now youth are being brought to memorials on the assumption, that the visit will have a positive socializing and humanistic impact on them. This assumption is based on societies' need to deal with their past, but much less on empirical evidence and educational strategies.

Better insight into the experience of visitors and the impact the visit did or did not have could then both inform us about the results of our efforts, as well as help us to understand what we need to do differently.

In order to define the goals of guides and their educational tours at the Mauthausen Memorial, an online survey formulated by Christian Gudehus was done. It included the following questions:

  1. According to you, what are the tasks of memorials in general, what are the tasks of the Mauthausen Memorial? 
  2. What made you work at the Mauthausen Memorial??
  3. What is the aim of your tour?

Coming soon: comment on the results