Društvo/Association Peršman continually works on various projects, all of which are in close thematic connection with the museum and the memorial site Peršman farmstead. In the following, we will present some of the association’s fields of activity.
Educational work in the museum at the Peršman farmstead (since 2001)
The Union of Carinthian Partisans is the organization responsible for the memorial site and museum at the Peršman farmstead. A cooperation agreement regulates the cooperation of the Društvo/Verein Peršman and the Union of Carinthian Partisans. It states that the Društvo/Verein Peršman is in charge of the educational work in the museum at the Peršman farmstead. The employees entrusted with the educational activities are initiated into their work and have specific qualifications for their work. In particular, they arrange educational projects which are designed specifically for schools and are related to National Socialism, and they also realize them. In the meantime, there is a network of young people from all over Austria and Germany who do the educational work voluntarily and with great enthusiasm. Thus, the educational work is at the focus of the current work of the association.
Art and culture (2003)
With the play “Elf Seelen für einen Ochsen/Enajst dus za enega vola“ (Eleven souls for an ox) the producer Tina Leisch – chairwoman of the Društvo/Verein Peršman from 2001 to 2004, made the history of the Peršman farmstead known far beyond the country’s borders. At the same time, thanks to the performances in Bad Eisenkappel/Železna Kapla, Klagenfurt/Celovec and Villach/Beljak, she also succeeded in destigmatizing the issue within Carinthia.
Premiered at the “Festival der Regionen” (“Festival of the Regions”) in 2003, the play, designed as a documentary, toured across several regions. The play confronted the audience with the war crimes committed at the Peršman farmstead and their judicial history. “Theatre in particular can be an expression of historical memory. It is good to dream certain historical nightmares publicly on stage to prevent them from reoccurring in the more real reality.” (Tina Leisch)
Science and research (2003/2004)
In the years 2003 to 2004, the Društvo/Verein Peršman acted as the project executing organization for a comprehensive historical and educational research project. Headed by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karl Stuhlpfarrer, historical research on the Peršman crime and on the history of the neighboring farms started – subsidized by the Republic of Austria’s National Fund and Future Fund. A significant discovery of records – the records of the People’s Court of the judicial inquiry against members of the SS and Police Regiment 13 – enabled new and reliable research findings on a solid base of reference: On the one hand, the SS and Police Regiment 13 could for the first time be indisputably identified as the perpetrators, on the other hand, new findings related to the judicial history turned up. Another study group headed by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Gstettner developed suggestions for a museum concept that was to enable a thorough analysis of Southern Carinthia’s history on the basis of life stories and family biographies.
Educational projects (2007/2008)
The years 2007 and 2008 were marked by cross-border educational projects with young people. “Zeit zu reisen – potovanje skozi čas – time to travel“ was the title of a youth meeting project in cooperation with the concentration camp memorial site Moringen in Lower Saxony (Germany). This project excelled by an innovative mediation approach, which included the young participants and gave them a high degree of responsibility in the project design. In the two-year duration of the project, the Austrian and German participants confronted the Nazi history more and more intensively, whereby the connection between Moringen and Southern Carinthia constituted the common and shared theme: After 1940, some of the young people from Bad Eisenkappel/Železna Kapla had been deported to the Youth Concentration Camp Moringen, as they or their families were accused of supporting partisans. The project was awarded “Best-Practice-Project” by the Federal Ministry of Education, Art and Culture.
New design of the museum at the Peršman farmstead (2011/2012)
Ever since its founding in 2001, the new design of the permanent exhibition in the museum at the Peršman farmstead has been a central concern for the Društvo/Association Peršman. In 2012, the 30th anniversary of the museum, it was completely redesigned and extended in close cooperation with the Union of Carinthian Partisans and the team of curators, Dr. Lisa Rettl, Dr. Werner Koroschitz and Mag. Uli Vonbank-Schedler. On an exhibition area of around 100m2, new focal points were created which do justice to the location, its inhabitants and its history: the war crime and its judicial history are picked out as a central theme, as well as the Sadovnik family history and the history of the Carinthian Slovenes with the key aspects of persecution, deportation and resistance. Audio-visual media – audio stations and film documentaries – as well as numerous biographical examples turn the experiences of the contemporary witnesses into the focus of attention and render the regional history vivid and understandable.