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YouthNet is an intercultural and interreligious network for young people in the city of Munich and has been organizing programs and workshops for young people over a period of 6 months each year since 2017.

YouthNet operates as an independent project under the umbrella of the Lichterkette e.V. association.

At the center of the network and its activities are young people aged 15-23 of diverse backgrounds and religions. They were born in Munich, moved to Munich or fled to Munich and represent the cultural diversity of our city.

Our central activities serve active integration and tolerant coexistence. More than 100 young people have already completed our programs.



Project 2022/23

Cooperation Staatliches Museum Pinakothek der Moderne with YouthNet.


I sometimes feel as if

The heart inside me is breaking.

I sometimes feel homesick.

I just don't know what for.....

                           Mascha Kaleko (Emigrant Monologue 1945)


Intro: Home and origin are significant cornerstones for defining individual identity. Home and origin are the basis of life and stabilize people.

The opposite of home and origin is escape and expulsion. This is what an alarmingly large number of people of different origins are suffering in the 20th and 21st centuries. War and brutal and violent power relations, which threaten life and health, make staying in one's own homeland impossible. Living under a corrupt and totalitarian regime poses a constant high threat. Access to human rights, food, health, work and education is denied to people based on religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity or other criteria. Bitter poverty, loss of supply due to climate change, or absolute lack of perspective - all these are experiences that force people to leave their homes, often to save their lives.

With this force majeure, people lose pillars of their identity - an always traumatic and usually life-threatening experience, which ends in the search for a new self-definition, the creation of a new existence. Often the loss of family, friends, professional and social position or cultural identity leads to great changes and hard times in a person's life. A new beginning is very difficult and yet it can make people realize their great and special strength.

People who have experienced and survived flight, displacement and exile are often a great asset and inspiration to the country they fled to.


Program: As part of the cooperation between the art education department of the Pinakotheken and YouthNet, six young people from our network explored the work of Max Beckmann exhibited here and his biography. They paid special attention to the break in his life - his departure into exile in 1937, his escape from National Socialist tyranny.

The young people dealt with their own biography, their own experience of escape, exile and expulsion. Because all of them have suffered this experience themselves or this caesura took place in the life of their parents or grandparents and has effects in their family until today.

This confrontation was for them all a painful and yet inspiring process. The artist's paintings and objects encouraged them to depict their own biography pictorially. The texts they wrote describe formative experiences and thoughts.

With this project we want to show that remembering can be experienced together and that commemoration thus remains alive.


Project duration: September 2022-January 2023

o Discussion about the terms exile, emigration, expulsion in the historical and current context. Direction: Burak Ylmaz (pedagogue, book author)

o Introduction to the life and work of Max Beckmann. Direction: Sarah Henn (curator of the exhibition), Ulrich Ball (Department of Art Education of the Pinakotheken).

o Talk with Dr. F. Bernheimer, Shahrzad Osterer and Tomas Loewy about their own experience of flight.

o Film documentary about Max Beckmann

o Writing workshop: Amelie Fried author and Peter Probst author offered everyone a writing workshop lasting several hours where they wrote, read and discussed their stories together.

o Guided tour of the exhibition. Directed by Christiane Zeiller (curator of the exhibition), Sarah Henn (curator), Ulrich Ball (Dept. of Art Education).

o Conception and creation of the works




Project group:

Katja, 18 years old is from Ukraine. She was born in Donetsk. In 2014 the family fled to Kiev. In early March 2022 in the first days of Russias assault Katja and her mother fled to Germany. Her father had to stay in Kiev.

Katja's topic: contemporary witness and affected person - facts, thoughts and feelings.


Lien 21 years old comes from Munich. Her grandparents/great-grandparents were all Holocaust survivors. Lien tells the story of her grandparents, who were forced to flee Berlin in 1933 to save their lives because of their Jewish background.

Lien's theme: my family history casts its shadow until today.


Ali, 22 years old, comes from Herat, Afghanistan. In 2015, he fled to Germany. The time of his flight was formative and traumatizing, especially the crossing from Turkey to Greece in an inflatable boat.

Ali's theme: flight and tragedy


Fanny, 22, is from Munich. Her great-grandparents lived in the Bohemian Forest and were expelled from there as Sudeten Germans in 1945. But some traditions remained.

Fanny's topic: Expulsion and flight and the preservation of a tradition


Arezo 20 years, born in Iran as the daughter of Afghan parents from the Hazara ethnic group. Arezo fled to Germany in 2016.

Arezo writes about her father, who fled from Afghanistan to Iran as a persecuted Hazara.

Mbacke, 26, is from Senegal. In 2016, he came to Germany after a long odyssey. Although he speaks fluent German and has been trying to complete an education and work for years, he is not allowed to do so.

Mbacke's topic: Vicious circle: lack of prospects


Translated with (free version)

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