The last night of a marvelous exchange program

von Christian Wittkowsky, 23.04.2017, 16:56 Uhr

A treat for us Germans: smiling faces of our friends from Israel.

Exchange programs at schools have always great benefits for teachers, students and guest families. They give the chance to practice the foreign language, students learn about different cultures, they find out about other ways of life, they get motivation for their language classes and last but not least the teens get prepared for a globalized world.

The exchange program between the IGS Neuwied and the Ami Asaf High School in Drom Hasharon, Israel, means much more. In a world where combat ships are ordered into position, when nations are planning to leave international organizations, in a world where politicians are threatening other nations with total war, it’s marvelous to see Israeli and German teenagers celebrating their friendship. A friendship which is always very special considering the Holocaust and the untold suffering of the Jewish people.

72 years after the liberation of concentration camps, the teens spent unforgettable days in the Rhineland, in Berlin and Buchenwald, visiting the memorials of the darkest period in German history, if not the darkest period in the history of mankind. It is wonderful that young people from Israel and Germany remembered together the times of outrageous hate of Germans towards Jewish people. In the view of Buchenwald, it is really a miracle in history that Germany and Israel have a friendly relationship.

It was a great honor for us Germans to welcome our Israeli friends into our homes, to show them our country, to visit places of interest and of grief, to stand side by side of the teens from Drom Hasharon when answers were impossible to get.

We cannot be thankful enough for the teachers Ziva Didi and Zehavi Kaufman , who organized the trip and who made it possible that the outstanding exchange program could change the views of many people. We are grateful for the open hearts and minds, for the joy, for the friendship and for the memories.

Another big thank you goes out to our teachers Peter Seibeld, Martin Pulch and Iris Lejeune, who planned the exchange on the German side and who have fought against many obstacles. We are happy to have many German families, who offered their homes for our friends from Israel and who turned the exchange into an unforgettable experience.

We cannot wait until next year when we get to know the homes of our friends from Drom Hasharon and their beautiful country. We wish our partners all the best and a great time until 2018.