‘When We Were 17’ Captures 100 Years of German Youth With 12 Life Stories

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

When We Were 17

Ever wonder what it would of been like to be a teen in Germany during the country’s most pivotal moments in history? DW has launched a project to take you on a 100 year journey from 1914 to the present to see just what the lives of 17-year-old men and women would have looked like.

DW worked on the “When we were 17: Youth at the Crossroads,” project for almost a year, making their way through old documents and over 50 hours of source material to provide an accurate picture of life as a youth in Germany.  “We took our protagonists back to where they spent their teenage years. Those places were where German and European history was made: from Ypres in Belgium to the Berlin Wall and back. We marched through woods alongside German soldiers, both male and female. We retrieved boxes with old photos from cellars. And we collected exclusive footage from archives all across Europe.”

Six milestones in German history are captured in the twelve stories, covering World War I in 1914, the end of World War II in 1945, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the growing number of protests in 1968, 1989’s fall of the Wall, and the life of German youth in the present.

According to DW, the project is intended to provide more than just an interesting look into the lives of 17-year-old Germans throughout German history. Each story is set up to “show that the role young people play in a society says a lot about that country’s attitude towards freedom and democracy. Teaching young people respect of human rights, freedom of opinion and tolerance is a vital cornerstone for the peaceful co-existence of different peoples.”

Each story is backed with interesting historical details that will leave you with a renewed look at German history. Take some time during the holiday weekend to sit back and enter the lives of twelve individuals who capture what life was like when they were seventeen.

 

Source: DW
Photo: DW

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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