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Jun 25, 2017 10:03 PM

Human dramas, told in a contemporary fashion

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 00:03
The Holocaust, the refugee tragedy in the Mediterranean, life as a blind person – web documentaries that treat difficult topics impressively have been nominated for the Grimme Online Award.

Germany. Blogs, videos, 360-degree movies – symbols of the contemporary media world. The nominations for the Grimme Online Award show that exactly these formats of the future make an important contribution to dealing with the past. In the competition of high-quality, journalistic online offerings, there are strikingly many productions on the short list that focus on contemporary commemorative culture.

For example, #uploading Holocaust: at the interactive online portal young YouTubers accompany the user on the way to the former concentration camp Auschwitz and can share his emotions while visiting the memorial site. The web documentary Im Märkischen Sand – Nella Sabbia del Brandenburgo (In the Sand of Mark Brandenburg – Nella Sabbia del Brandenburg) draws the viewer’s attention to a little known chapter of the Second World War: in April 1945, the German Wehrmacht shot 127 Italian forced labourers in the small town of Treuenbrietzen in Brandenburg. The production Inside Auschwitz 360° also reveals the extent of Nazi terror: the images transmitted by a drone show how gigantic the extermination camp was.

These three and other works have been nominated for the Grimme Online Award in the category of Knowledge and Education. In the category of Information, the multimedia report Rette sie, wer kann (Save Them If You Can) of the news magazine Der Spiegel is a candidate. The story takes the viewer aboard a refugee boat; it is tight, the sea spray is splashing, rescue vests are handed out. Seldom have we been brought so close to the European refugee crisis.

What does it mean to be German?

Refugees who are already in Germany have their say in Germania, a video series of the youth portal “funk” on public television. For example, Hadnet Tesfai, who fled Eritrea with her parents at the age of three. “As children, we lived in both worlds”, says Tesfai, who is now herself a mother and wants to give her children the best of both traditions. What does it mean to be German? Many other young people come to grips with this question in the series of portraits. The format has been nominated for the Grimme Award in the category of Culture and Entertainment.

“The most precise, deep and beautiful account of blindness I have ever read”, said the neuroscientist Oliver Sacks about the diary of the writer John Hull, which documents his going blind. The television channel Arte has made a virtual reality app “Notes on Blindness” out of it. It is a contender for the Award in the category of Special.

Overview: www.grimme-online-award.de

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