ME Passerelles is a non-profit organisation founded in 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland, aiming to further the dialogue between descendants of violent conflicts in Europe and elsewhere.
The association is a continuation of the work initiated by the psychotherapists Hilde Gött and the late Yaacov Naor to examine the traces of the holocaust in present life by bringing together the offspring of Nazi perpetrators and Holocaust survivors.
Nowadays, after the death of the last survivors of the Shoah, we continue this work with the descendants on a personal, family-historical level. We try to overcome the challenge that those who are alive today still have to deal with the individual and collective burden of the past and ask themselves how they can bear the resulting responsibility.
All Passerelles events are designed to reach into the current life situation and do not allow to hide behind evasive and trivialising strategies – in favour of a truthful encounter (Buber, Moreno) with the respective other side.
The organisation was initiated and is carried by descendants of perpetrators and victims.
Peace is not the lack of conflicts. We believe that our work should be devoted to learning how to live with the conflicts. The first step of such a process is to learn to accept the “other”. Instead of projecting the own unaccepted shadows to others we believe that it is more important and effective to encounter the enemy within ourselves. This may not lead to forgiveness or reconciliation, but can heal some of the wounds. Above all, it may open a dialogue.
These topics are about all of us and relevant for all of us. In our dynamic active unmasking group workshops we encounter the traces of the Holocaust in our present life (but also with other collective traumatic experiences). We deal with the interrelations between two parts within us: the aggressor and the victim. These are present in all conflicts no matter wether they are inner oder interpersonal, collective, between smaller or bigger groups of people, historical or actual. We are highly skilled psychodramatists and expressive art therapists and use various other methods (e.g. trauma therapy).
The workshops are open for everybody. No prior experience in psychodrama is necessary.
What we do
We visit concentration camps and extermination camps, museums or other places of memory with diverse target groups. We organize meetings and workshops on conferences and on demand. We offer training courses and educational activities. We deal with theoretical and empirical consideration and research. We intend to publish about our work.
Transmission of trauma
Violent events or conflicts can be transmitted in conscious and unconscious ways, collectively or individually to future generations. This occurs mainly when the they stay silenced and unprocessed. Transmission can occur through early childhood, attachment, modeling, interactions, socialisation, education and more.
– Exploring the projections of history
on our lives,
– expressing the unspoken and
– breaking the silence associated with the trauma are our tasks. We create a space where emotions like grief, loss, rage, shame (…) can be expressed and traumatic experiences can be processed.
We believe that this can bring some relief and hope to the next generations.
Creating a Dialogue
Violent events isolate people from each other. At the center of our work stands the dialogue between the isolated: descendants of victims and descendants of perpetrators, nowadays individuals and groups from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
After establishing trust between the participants we deepen the work on the traumatic events and bring into consciousness the traces of the past. We allow the subjective truths to be represented on stage with all emotions they entail.
By carefully creating bridges between the past and the present and between the two different sides of conflicts, we break the simplificating images about ourselves and about the others. Become witnesses in each other’s stories, giving both sides legitimacy to their feelings, thoughts and narratives creates reciprocal recognition of those outer and inner roles.
An important part of the work on intergenerational transmission lies in the conscious choice of the legacy people seek to pass on to future generations.
Realizing what they received from the past, the participants enhance their ability to create changes in their lives, to model their legacy to the next generations and thus to take responsibility to build a better future.
It is important to understand and to emphasize that the aim of Passerelles is not forgiveness or reconciliation but to contribute to a healing process.
Above all it may open a way to stop circles of violence and to support democracy.
The facilitators of this project are living examples of the fruits of this dialogue. They have been involved in creating a psychodramatic space for encounters between Jews and Germans from the Post-Second World War generations. Today, we expand our field of action to include the suffering that ever new collective conflicts and current wars bring.
Yaacov Naor ✡ 2018
Yaacov was born in a DP-Camp in Germany, to Holocaust survivor parents. He grew up in Israel, in a home where the trauma of the Holocaust and its horrors were the experiences that most
strongly shaped his personal and professional destiny.
Yaacov devoted his entire life to stop the resurgence of the cruel traumas human beings bring upon each other, wherever they
may be on the planet.
Seeing and understanding
the other was a candle that lit his way.
Born in Romania as the grand-
daughter of SS members whose wives were deported to Siberia, she has been teaching Psychodrama and Supervision for more than 20 years in Germany and Europe.
She is a children and adolescent therapist, focusing on trauma, domestic violence and suicidal cases. MSc in Psychodrama
Psychotherapy. Hilde is a certified trainer and
supervisor (DGSv) of Psychodrama for the Psychodrama Association for
Was born in Switzerland, the daughter of a survivor of the Shoah. Together with his little sister, her father managed
to escape from Berlin to England with the last Kindertransport. All the other members of the family who remained in Germany were killed in Auschwitz.
Dania graduated in educational sciences and C.A.G.S. in intermodal arts therapy, and is a certified trainer in transgenerational therapy.
She works with patients, as a teacher and therapist in intermodal arts therapy training, in her private practice, and as a group facilitator in social and hospital contexts.
President of Passerelles. He holds a Masters’ degree in law and is engaged in many Jewish organisations (as member of the board of the Jewish Community of Geneva, among others).
Daniel was one of the founders and board member of LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme) in Switzerland for 32 years.
Was born in Israel as the granddaughter of immigrants from Poland. Most of her grandmother’s family were killed by the Nazis in a forest near Konin, Poland, together with the majority of the town’s Jewish community.
Elinor Zalmona-Bollag graduated from the Anthropology and Theater Studies Departments at the Hebrew University,
Jerusalem. She is certified as an expressive arts therapist, specializing in psychodrama.
She works with adults and children in a private clinic.
Born 1965, grew up in West Berlin in a family consisting of NSDAP/Wehrmacht members on one side, and socialist/communist party members on the other.
Manfred graduated as a nurse, a social pedagogue, trainer of Psychodrama and as supervisor. He serves as head of a diaconal
organisation for protection and welfare of children, adolescents and their families.
Next Events / Workshops
Krakow / Auschwitz
3rd – 9th July 2023
Please find all informations in the downloadable PDF.
We look forward to your registration.