|How to act||
Demonstrations, Europe, Memory, Political interventions, Spreading information
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
Society for Threatened People / GfbV
In Germany, many antiwar groups were active at a local level; on a national level, the most visible and vocal organisation was the “Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker” (GfbV) / Society for Threatened Peoples, based in the town of Göttingen.
The GfbV was founded in 1970 as a human rights association and worked to create awareness of and protect peoples threatened by oppressive governments around the world. In the 1990s, the post-Yugoslav space, and especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, became its main field of action. The GfbV was very active in organizing public campaigns and political lobbying, and advocated clearly naming the crimes and taking strong measures against them. “It was said: it is a civil war. We tried to explain: it is a war of conquest. But it is genocide” wrote the GfbV for example in September 1992 in the leaflet reproduced here ; the sentences at the bottom read: “Open all concentration camps! End ‘ethnic cleansing’! Set up protection zones for refugees! Enforce the return of all displaced people!”.
Stressing the importance of taking seriously the lessons of World War Two (“Never Again”), the GfbV sharply criticised European governments for their passivity and organised numerous protest actions, such as the occupation of the Buchenwald Memorial. While many peace groups refused to support military interventions or hesitated to answer this question, the GfbV was among the organisations that repeatedly asked for military interventions in order to stop ongoing atrocities.
The Gfbv also organized public hearings and congresses in order to document crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to strengthen links between and with the Bosnian diaspora and refugee organisations, the GfbV established the “European Forum for Bosnia and Herzegovina” in 1994. It gathered around 100 associations from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Benelux.
In 1997, GfbV opened an office in Sarajevo which remains active today.