The Public Humanities: Public History first distinguished itself from traditional historical scholarship in the United States, but in the last ten years it has established itself in Germany as well. For some time now, the historical disciplines have no longer shared their research with the public solely through classic formats like academic monographs, peer-reviewed journals, monuments, and museums. In the twenty-first century, the range of options for how to reach the public now includes not only mass media like film, television, radio, and newspapers but also new social media like the internet, facebook, youtube, and more. Virtual technologies open new possibilities for critical engagement beyond the borders of professional and disciplinary expertise.
Implementing these new approaches requires that historically oriented scholars not only master the classic competencies of scholarship but also acquire practical experience with archiving, exhibiting, and working with the public through digital mesia.  These new media in turn transformed the roles of the historian: As academically trained experts they still command authority in questions of factual knowledge and the critical reading of sources, but they are no longer the only ones socially authorized to interpret the past or draw meanings from it for the present. “Making history” is not only a capability of all human beings but also a common everyday practice. By sharing this responsibility with the public, historians free themselves to assumed different functions: as organizer, guide, and advisor to the public as they engage in historical interpretation. 
Among the first innovations in the new field of historical scholarship was the digitization of historical materials and the development of related technologies to do so.  Yet it may be the new methods that have been developed for analyzing historical materials that proves more decisive.  Today scholars analyze “big data” through “text Mining” and “topic modeling.” They visualize literature and history geographically and elicit new source materials through “crowdsourcing.” T&S relies mostly on the latter: the asynchronous, collaborative preparation of the letters for publication through digitization, transcription, discussion, and analysis. The target audience for T&S is not primarily academics but a broad public including researchers, students, teachers, and laypeople around the world. The authority to interpret historical narratives thus lies not just with the researcher and scholar but with the general public. This concept of “shared authority” is the leitmotiv of the entire project.
Media Studies: The humanities and social sciences often raise the question of the role of the mass media in a critical engagement with the past.  Critical theory has warned us about the dangers posed for a democratic society by a “consciousness industry”, which monopolizes and commercializes memory and treats history, like memory, as entertainment.  Virtual technologies have challenged the discipline to address the social construction of knowledge. Competing interpretations and the challenge of capturing the interest of the public play an increasingly significant role, as more and more, people are empowered to formulate and share their understanding of history in diverse public spheres ranging from the mass media to new social media. We risk a collapse into an unmanageable diversity of partial public spheres.
In order to initiate a dialogue in common about matters of common concern, one must first overcome the challenge of attracting the interest of these fragmentary publics. Every medium for communication has its strengths and weaknesses. Limiting oneself to just one medium only circumscribes the spacial or social reach of the project and therefore the scope of the interactions and exchanges. T&S addresses this problem head on by creating an intermedial platform for public access and participation that hopes to benefit from the strengths of different medial formats.
The foundation for the project is a set of love letters–itself classic form of interpersonal communication.
They are digitized, transcribed, crosschecked, and blogged using virtual media accessible globally on the web. The letters are published on the blog “at least 75 years after” the date of their original posting [see Editorische Bearbeitung 2.2 Veröffentlichungstempo- bzw. lücken]. Similarly, they are broadcast on the radio and streamed on the Internet as an audio book in monthly summaries. The letters are the focus of public workshops for students, teachers, and senior citizens in programs for political education as well as academic presentations. To be sure, they are the subject of new scholarly articles in peer-reviewed publications; but they are also the basis for historical dramas performed for a general public. New initiatives in T&S are now focusing on developing an English-language curriculum for students of German culture, history, and language on the basis of these resources as well as an historical computer game that allows users to follow the story of Hilde and Roland, and perhaps make different choices.
The intersections between these various media formats and audiences creates not only spaces for the public to familiarize themselves with everyday life under the Nazis but also contemporary forums for sociability and conviviality across social and spacial boundaries. Doing so requires breaking with the norms of program production in documentaries, infotainment, and sitcoms which provide their audience with a clear ending and resolution to the story within the scope of one program. By contrast, T&S “decelerates” the past by following the older rhythm of the post. The slow pace of letter writing not only ties our experience of historical events to that of the historical actors but postpones our knowledge of the end of the history—here, of the Third Reich—until Hilde and Roland experienced it for themselves. This approach restores the inherent uncertainties of the present to the past.
Social Work: Finally, these diverse disciplinary approaches are connected to each other through the techniques of “reconstructive social work”. It incorporates trends from the Chicago School of sociology , psychoanalysis, humanistic psychology, and the historical disciplines, especially oral history . In that context, Jakob und Wensierski speak of reconstructing worlds of social meaning.  Through communicative processes such as individual or group counseling, social workers invite participants to recall the “records” or internalized records of their own life. in contrast to a chronological list of personal situations over the course of their lives, these “records” subjectively remember and constitute a life history stamped by that individual’s social and cultural context.  In keeping with the findings of ethnohistorical microanalyses that biography is a mediating construction that can reveal the interactions between social situation and individual configurations, social workers works collaboratively with their clients to help them understand their own life histories in their social conditionality and individual particularities.  In this context, working with clients on their biography becomes an effort at active re/construction. Social workers can support them as they reappropriate their own past with all of its dis/continuities and integrate it into the present.  They help people thereby to become more sensitive to their practical dynamics and survival strategies in light of ruptures in their life stories. Thjis kind of study and work treats people as constructive agents of their own life and recognized them as experts in their own affairs. Through it, they become the authors of their own life history.  Schimank describes this confrontation with one’s own biography as an autopoesis in the sense of reconstructing their individuality. 
The biographical experience with national socialism is becoming increasingly less tangible as a direct narrative, at most we can do so only through the generation of the so-called “war children”. Still we can gain access to the experiences of the older generations through through eye witness accounts, diaries, stories that have been handed down to subsequent generations, and also in letters like the ones that form the core of the T&S project. They record the process by which individuals learned about their social world and that social world threatened their identities. By reading, listening to and retelling these auto/biographical stories of everyday life under national socialism today, we not only transmit them transgenerationally but make them relevant to the present. According to Petzold, social work measures directed at the aging and elderly “should therefore target substituting communication for silenced dialogues, commonality for isolation, togetherness for loneliness.“  Organizing constructive dialogue acquires particular salience when encounters around collective biographic work is supposed to encourage learning between members if different generations.  These kinds of dialogues put into question familiar meanings and open the possibility for new insights. Moderators of such encounters — called “multipliers” — should be prepared to initiate and guide group conversations, to make connections between the contributions of the various participants, be sensitive to the use of particularly salient key words, to recognize the core elements of the narrative, and to deepen the conversation about it through questions. The goals here are to participate collaboratively in the critical evaluation of one’s own personal biographies  and to garner new insights into the history of national socialism in the process.
For the purposes of the T&S Project, the concept of reconstructive social work connects the letters of Hilde and Roland to the memories of participants in the research team, at workshops, on the website, in classrooms, and so on. This platform thus offers a unique opportunity for transnational, intergenerational, and intermedial investigations of the Nazi past. The task of “multipliers” is to initiate a constructive dialogue between diverse social groups in order to connect the letters to the memories and comments of participants and frame them all in their historical and contemporary contexts.
Last Theme: Ethnohistorical Microanalysis
 Über die Vermittlung von Geschichte außerhalb der Universitäten siehe: Jerome de Groot, Consuming History, London 2009; David Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country, Cambridge 1985; Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory, London 1994; Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, Philadelphia 2001.
 Roy Rosenzweig, David Thelen, The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life, New York 1998; Jorma Kalela, Making History. The Historian and the Uses of the Past, Basingstoke 2012.
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 Public History in a Digital World – The Revolution Reconsidered, first Annual Conference of the International Federation for Public History, University of Amsterdam, 23.– 25. 10. 2014, http://ifph.hypotheses.org/, 11.2014; German Studies and Digital Humanities, German Studies Association Annual Meeting, Sessions 93 & 123, Kansas City, MO, 18. September 2014; Stephan Robertson, The Differences between Digital History and Digital Humanities, 23. May 2014, http://drstephenrobertson.com/blog-post/the-differences-between-digital-history-and-digital-humanities/, 11.2014; H-Soz-Kult Redaktion: Editorial: The Status Quo of Digital Humanities in Europe, in: H-Soz-Kult, 23.10.2014,<http://www.hsozkult.de/debate/id/diskussionen-2375>; Spatial Narratives of the Holocaust: GIS, Geo-Visualization, and the Possibilities for Digital Humanities, Session 29, American Historical Association, New Orleans, 3. Januar 2013; Tagungsbericht: Digital History: 13.05.2014–14.05.2014 Zürich, H-Soz-Kult 18.07.2014, http://www.hsozkult.de/hfn/conferencereport/id/tagungsberichte-5462.
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Miethe, Biographiearbeit, S. 46
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 Vgl. Mandy Aftel, The story of your life. Becoming the author of your experience, New York, 1996; Herbert, Gudjons, Marianne Pieper, Birgit Wagener-Gudjons, Auf meinen Spuren. Das Entdecken der eigenen Lebensgeschichte, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1986.
 Uwe Schimank, Biographie als Autopoiesis – eine systemtheoretische Rekonstruktion von Individualität. In: Brose, Hanns-Georg & Hildenbrand, Bruno (Hrsg.): Vom Ende des Individuums zur Individualität ohne Ende. Biographie und Gesellschaft, Bd. 4. Opladen, 1988, S. 55–72.
 Hilarion Petzold, Exchange Learning – ein Konzept für die Arbeit mit alten Menschen. In: Petzold, Hilarion (Hrsg.): Mit alten Menschen arbeiten: Bildungsarbeit, Psychotherapie, Soziotherapie. Band 57, Reihe Leben lernen, München 1985, S. 79.
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