Und was sagen die Freiwilligen? Hier eine Reihe von Zitaten und Berichten in Deutsch und Englisch aus der Arbeit in den Einrichtungen und den Erfahrungen, die sie im Laufe des Freiwilligenjahres gemacht haben.



Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige über …


"Man erwartet von einem Freiwilligenprojekt in Deutschland, dass es Spaß macht, interessant ist, spannend und besonders, aber wenn du dann vor Ort bist, bist du auf einmal mit Fragen konfrontiert. Plötzlich versteht du, dass du hier bist, um Sachen über dich selbst zu erfahren und um die Welt besser zu verstehen." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 24, JBS am Tower, Oberschleißheim


"Before I flew to Germany, I didn't know what to expect, what kind of people I will meet, how different are our cultures and in general – I didn't know what is going to be, how will I adapt to this new situation. In retrospect this year clarified me what exactly I want to do and what are the channels I want to develop in. This project is very important and we must do everything we can, to continue it. The fact that we are being assimilated inside the different communities, we are doing the best job in what we call "Israeli-German relations"." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 25, Zionistische Jugend in Deutschland / Kinderhort, Frankfurt Main


Die Arbeit in den Einsatzstellen:

"Die Arbeit mit dem Jugendlichen ist schwer und braucht Geduld, aber meistens finde ich sie interessant und erträglich. Ich war überrascht, wie schnell die Jugendlichen mich akzeptiert haben. Ich mag es, mich mit den Jugendlichen zu unterhalten und es freut mich, dass sie sich mit mir wohlfühlen. Sie fragen mich oft über meinen Hintergrund und meine Verbindung und Interessen an Deutschland. Obwohl sie manchmal sehr schwere Fragen stellen, antworte ich gerne. Ich finde es ist nicht nur für die Jugendlichen, sondern auch für mich eine gute Möglichkeit neue Kulturen kennenzulernen und neue Perspektiven auf die Welt zu entwickeln." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 29, Jugendkeller Lichtenrade, Berlin


"I was particularly interested in two placements in Cologne – the Jewish Community (which fell through) and the Federal Association for Information and Consultation for persons persecuted by the Nazi regime (Bundesverband Information und Beratung für NS-Verfolgte e.V.), where I, to my great pleasure, eventually worked. I saw this as a good chance to learn more about the Holocaust from a German perspective and to encounter victims which are not spoken of in Israel – Roma, Sinti, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Germans persecuted due to their political beliefs. I have been fortunate enough to indeed encounter many such people and hear their stories, which hardly differ from those of the persecuted Jews." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 25, Bundesverband Information und Beratung für NS-Verfolgte, Köln


"I am very grateful for the opportunity of being here and doing what I am doing now. I feel like in my case between me and my working place is very "organic", I give what I can and I got a lot since a came here. So my motivation is on the rise. (…) I will not name each one of the difficult situations I had during the time here, but I will name one and in my opinion the main one: language and how I am dealing with it: I am taking courses." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 22, Bambinim, Berlin


"In a way, after a short while, the Monikahaus became my main placement. That was the place where I learned the language, the place where I got to meet a large variety of people, the place that made me face so many challenges. I learned a lot about myself, mostly about how to build myself as a grown up person in front of the kids, and make them respect me, and doing it without being able to talk to them in their language." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 27, Monikahaus, Frankfurt Main


"My workplace introduced me to many interesting topics, I didn't really have the chance to know before. For example stories from the DDR, Germany's welfare system (MAE, Hartz IV etc.), left- and right winged extreme activism, Berlin's squats and the Kita shortage." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 22, Frei-Zeit-Haus, Berlin


"Within the course of the year my knowledge of the German culture and history grew extensively – in large, due to my encounter, for the first time in my life, with Polish-German history. I have also learned a great deal about the Roma and Sinti, about the multicultural society in Germany and about the immigrants there, as well as the problem surrounding the issue." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 25, Bundesverband Information und Beratung für NS-Verfolgte, Köln


"I really like my work. My co-workers and the girls are really nice and sweet. I feel I’m part of the staff. I like that as an immigrant myself and as an Israeli, the girls can see me and learn about coping with difficulties, different cultures and Israelis not only from the television and not only about the conflicts that Israel has with some of the countries that their families came from." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 26, Outreach, Berlin


"When I came for the first time to the Jugend (Youth) Keller, I was looking around in amazement. The place was rather full with Youngsters, some with migrant background and some rooted Berlin teens. They were boxing and I was just going inside, like knowing how to train boxing and just meddled in. (…)The highest point of my service till now was a two week social-learning session we did with the younger classes of the local high schools. On this week I had the possibility to get to know the school system in Berlin and to witness a bit of the everyday school life of our daily visitors. Together with Janosch from the Kick-Project we held a two day workshops for every class. These were intensive three weeks, with a lot of hard work, but it was an important experience for me where I also got a bit of the current German teen-language." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 22, Jugendkeller Lichtenrade, Berlin


"Only when I started working with the main sports-trainer, I started to feel meaningful. Even then I felt that I have more to give so I contacted the Jewish community in Bremen. My dream was and still is to bring the kids from the Jewish community to the Sportgarten. I wish to help them get to know and love the Sportgarten and to make friends with the other none-Jewish kids. Today I find a lot of satisfaction in my work. But I also meet a lot of challenges. The biggest challenge is the language. I have so many ideas, but I don't have the words to say it. Even though I don't give up and I try to do the best I can. I guide the kids and I learn a lot from them, I find them to be very patient and willing to learn and teach." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 22, Sportgarten e.V., Bremen


Das deutsch-israelische Verhältnis

"It all began in Dachau. Funny, usually things have ended there, but for me, everything began there. Two weeks after my volunteer year in Germany had begun, Johanna (back then my new German flat mate, now one of my closest friends) and I, decided to visit Teresa and Daniela, two other volunteers who live and work in Dachau. We spent the first day in beautiful (and slightly boring, I have to admit) Munich. On our second day, we made an awful mistake: we visited the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site together. A mistake, since the sense of embracement we both felt during our visit was really unbearable. The feeling of guilt Johanna felt throughout the visit and my attempt to convince her that she is not guilty at all, made us think: “Can our relationship be 'normal'?” and also “Could we live together without the residue of the past”? For me, this conversation was a big shock. Is it really me? After all, it was I who had been trying for many years to avoid any connection with young Germans, with the German language, with Germany. How could I suddenly avoid the past? How could I try to build a normal relationship with a German friend? At that moment, in Dachau, I realized that this year is going to be a year of pursuit, of self-inquiry, a year of real challenge. Now, after six months, it is time to find out how I’m dealing with that challenge. So, hello, my name is Yael, 27 years-old, from Jerusalem. I have a bachelor’s degree in history from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and since September 2002, I’ve been working in the International School of Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem. History has always interested me. History books filled my parents’ house, and since I was little, I found myself studying and reading those books. From a very young age, I was drawn to the Holocaust. My personal family story, as well as the size and the intensity of the event led me to engage in this field. As a result, I developed a great aversion to anything related to Germany. The German language, culture, and people, were things I completely shunned. As far as I saw it, interaction with young Germans was unnecessary. It was clear to me that the younger generation is not guilty of the sins of its parents, but despite that, I didn't want to be in contact with them. Over the years, I also developed unresolved anger, anger about the Holocaust and anger at the world for allowing such atrocities to take place. At some point, I realized that this rage hurts me first and foremost. From this understanding I've decided to allow myself to meet young people who are my age from the 'other side' and to learn German. I became more interested in the way young Germans today come to terms with their past." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 27, Haus der Wanseekonferenz Berlin


"Die Freiwillige Arbeit in Deutschland hat eine Art Mehrwert, wegen der Vergangenheit, die uns so stark aneinander bindet." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 22, Masorti Kindergarten, Berlin


"Germany was always a part of my life. My grandparents were born in Freiburg and I always knew I want to visit there one day. When I had the opportunity to go there for one year of volunteering I didn't need to think twice. I wanted to see how it's like to live in Germany, to know the culture better, to know the language and to get the chance to know new people that I will never meet in Israel. When I heard that Kom-Mit-Nadev are looking for people who will work with Zionist youth organizations in Germany, I knew I want to be a part of it. I was a counselor in a youth movement in Israel called "HaMahanot HaOlim", so for me it was a natural move to make. I wanted to work with new people." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 25, Zionistische Jugend in Deutschland / Kinderhort, Frankfurt Main


"I also made sure to visit different Holocaust museums and monuments. Visiting Dachau and specifically walking along the route leading to the concentration camp through the village used by a part of the prisoners, was one of the more important experiences I had here and I think it gave me an insight to what the people in Germany have to deal with themselves and their forefathers when looking at the past." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 22, Frei-Zeit-Haus, Berlin


"As a foreigner in Germany I didn't feel so different in the city view of Berlin, but one must always remember that Berlin is one of the most liberal, open and free cities, not only in Germany, rather throughout Europe. But once, as we were in a seminar in Wünsdorf, I was pointed at and mentioned as a "Jew" from some young school pupils from Berlin that were there for a class trip. This was the first time in my life that I actually experienced anti-Semitism directed personally at me and it wasn't a nice experience but it was also important one to have. It is a different Germany today no doubt, but now I've learned to recognize the nowadays weak spots of it." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, Jugendkeller Lichtenrade, Berlin


"I see my life in Germany as a mission. In our last seminar, Thomas said the following remarkable words before our visit in the Pestalozzi synagogue in Berlin: "We constantly talk about how Jews died, now let's see how they actually live". This brilliant and exciting sentence accompanies me throughout this year. Because yes, I am Jewish and Israeli, third generation to the Holocaust, and I engage in history on a daily basis. However, I also love Britney Spears and Eurovision. I love living in Berlin, but intend to return in late August to my homeland. And I deeply love my German friends, but I am also aware that there is and will be always something in the background. So I am not only "Jewish". I am not a cliché.  I am Yael, a young woman who always wonders how the weight of the history affects her present life, but while doing so, continuing to dance till the world ends." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 27, Haus der Wannseekonferenz, Berlin


"I gain from this year many good things: the experience of another culture and other mentality, work experience in general and experience to take care of people with special needs and to work in stuff with people that speak in another language and have another mentality, other behavior codes than people in Israel. I changed my perception of the German-Israeli relation and now I understand that the German society had many good changes in last 60 years and I met here many tolerant and educated people that don’t forget their own history but want to be a better and more tolerant society. Of course I have also met people that think in other ways and are less tolerant, but my general experience is, that young German people are tolerant to other cultures and want to know more about other cultures." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 26, Träger gGmbH, Berlin


Die Auseinandersetzung mit der eigenen Identität

"Overall I'm having a great time here in Germany. I get to see and experience new things, make friends and improve my German. But more importantly, being in a foreign place I must confront myself and my views in a new light. Suddenly things I took for granted: the fact that I was a combat soldier, the fact that I'm Jewish, being able to say and react exactly how I want and even smaller things like eating the food I'm used to, are not at all obvious. Having to live in a foreign language offers an interesting chance: Whenever I do, or choose not to do, something I ask myself is it really harder for me because of language barriers or am I only giving myself an excuse and is this simply a personal trait of mine – in every aspect from shyness to perseverance to humor. It also made me have another look of what it means to be Jewish. I come from a very secular family but do consider Judaism an important cultural facet of myself. Things that are everyday knowledge to me I find explaining to many people. I also suddenly (something I didn't have from the first day) feel a need to at least not eat pork (which I never had a problem with in Israel) and visit Jewish related museums and institutes - maybe to make sure I haven't completely lost my identity???" Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 22, Frei-Zeit-Haus, Berlin


"So what is it like to be Jewish and an Israeli in Berlin? From my perspective – it is not easy but it is also great fun. Not easy because I can't ignore the history, the monuments, the Stolpersteine. Not easy because I can't disregard the fact that my favorite place in Berlin, Tempelhof airport, was built by the Nazi regime. But also great fun – because after all, this is Berlin, which is a city full of life, young people and culture." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 27, Haus der Wannseekonferenz, Berlin


Soziale Kontakte

"This situation of (almost desperately) needing to make new friends also makes me think of the concept of friendship itself - what's the difference between a good acquaintance, a friend and a close friend. I also keep changing my mind about how different the Germans are from Israelis and if it makes it harder to make or keep friends. But overall I'm happy with my social life in Berlin and realize, especially comparing myself to some of the other volunteers, that I'm lucky to live in a big city and very lucky to have arrived together with a group of friends into a similar situation." Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwilliger 2011/2012, 22, Frei-Zeit-Haus Berlin


"Although I have extensive experience living in shared flats, I was very concerned at the beginning of the year: how would six people with different languages, different mentalities and different habits be able to live together. Five months later, I’d dare and say – it is an idyll.  Occasionally, there are some clashes concerning cleaning and what not, but that's normal. I find living with these five wonderful people to be my “life belt” this year. Whenever I go back to the apartment after a long and exhausting day of working and studying German, I can find Peter, who will cook something or teach me a new card game, or Jana, who teaches me Russian and Russian dances, or Nastia, who is very powerful and motivated young woman, or Pia who is one of the funniest girls I have ever met, or Johanna, full of wisdom, with wonderful taste in music, who sometimes makes me wonder who is the older and mature one between us two. Our apartment, “The Schiller”, is full of life, parties, evenings of games and many guests. It is mostly full of tolerance, love and accepting, things that should not be taken for granted in our world.” Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2011/2012, 27, Haus der Wannseekonferenz, Berlin




"This year was amazing; I got so much from it. Maybe some small examples could indicate the change: I stopped biting my nails, I overcame the fear to go on roller coasters, and I started saying what I feel, and gained some self confidence. There was something about the total independency that made me see everything in a new perspective. I could build myself in a way like I wanted to be, away from my entire familiar surrounding that made me who I was before I came to Germany. As the year began, I made a decision to take everything in this year as an opportunity, and try to make the best out of everything."  Kom-Mit-Nadev Freiwillige 2010/2011, 27, Monikahaus, Frankfurt Main