The team

The team

Wencke Stegemann, M.A., CEO and program management

She is the founder and program director of Stories for tomorrow and an experienced democracy educator and historian in the area of historical and political education.

For 12 years she worked for a large Hamburg institution of political education as an education officer and deputy head of studies. There she specialized in the topics of Jewish life, Judaism, anti-Semitism, and racism and developed a wide range of expertise and a large network. Wencke Stegemann has extensive knowledge of the topics she has chosen and is constantly developing new methods and seminar concepts.

In 2021 she decided to give all her experience to her own company: Stories for tomorrow – a space for change and learning. Here she and her team would like to create space for mutual understanding and dialogue – for all age groups with an intersectional approach. Education and prevention against anti-Semitism do not exist in a vacuum. The societal issue must be viewed as such. For her, reflection on one’s perspective and meeting and exchanging views with other perspectives is the basis of a good dialogue, which is irreplaceable in solving social conflicts.

Born in Northern Germany in 1978, Wencke Stegemann was interested in the history of her immediate surroundings from an early age. Influenced by her grandfather, who told a lot about his life and gave her an open mind and two open ears to people’s stories, she studied and researched various socio-historical topics. She was particularly interested in how society worked in which something like the Holocaust/Shoa could happen. After studying history and Germanistic in Hamburg, she traveled a lot, especially in France and Israel.

Israel with all its facets became a second home for her. For years, personal and professional contacts have enriched her work in these and other countries and above all in her work in the prevention of anti-Semitism. For her, overcoming prejudices, listening, lifelong learning, and constant reflection on one’s perspective are part of a lively and robust democracy.

A full CV of Wencke Stegemann can be found here.

Wencke Stegemann designs and directs the entire program of Stories for tomorrow, and directs various seminars from lectures to international study trips. Cooperation partners and clients are happy to book her as a speaker, moderator, or consultant.

In addition to her passion for democracy and commitment, she enjoys gazing at the moon. This soft spot soon bursts the photo database of her mobile phone – because every little crescent of the celestial body has to be documented. Looking at the earth from the moon: A great dream of Wencke.

The great world of Stories for tomorrow cannot be built alone! The founder is backed by a young team with diverse backgrounds and diverse expertise. They all designed the program, the methodology, and the seminars of Stories for tomorrow and our youth project Museum of dialogue:

Jule, work/life balance coach

The small and self-confident Cairn Terrier lady Jule supports our founder and program manager Wencke Stegemann in every possible way – emotionally, mentally, and always at the highest level. Jule has been there from the start: at project weeks with youngsters, under the desk in the office. Without her, our management would get less fresh air and relaxation. And that every day. Best work-life balance coach in the world! Thank you, Jule!

Vanessa Eisenhardt, M. Ed.

Vanessa Eisenhardt was born in Dortmund in 1989 and lives there to this day. She studied History, Protestant theology, and Educational Science at the Ruhr University Bochum (2010-2018) and completed her studies with a Master of Education degree. In the final phase of her master’s degree, she took over the didactic management of educational work at ZWEITZEUGEN e.V., which she gave up in 2020 in favor of her dissertation project.

During her studies, a clear focus emerged, which also paved her way into research: research into perpetrators and violence in the context of National Socialism. Since 2012 she has had close ties to the Institute for Diaspora and Genocide Research at the Ruhr University Bochum so that her bachelor’s and master’s theses as well as her dissertation project “The Russian Special Command in Transnistria, 1941-44” were and are being supervised there. Since April 2020, her dissertation project has been funded by a grant from Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk e.V., the gifted scholarship organization of the Jewish community in Germany.

Since 2011 she has been volunteering in various areas: first with the RUB Guides, where she advised prospective students, since 2014 with ZWEITZEUGEN e.V., where she worked in the field of historical-political educational work, and since 2017 as an editor at Schalom, Newspaper of the Jewish Museum of Westphalia (Region in Germany).

Wencke Stegmann and Vanessa Eisenhardt met on a trip to Israel. On that trip, Wencke Stegemann told her about Stories for Tomorrow for the first time. She was immediately enthusiastic and sent her application documents to Wencke straight away. When Wencke Stegemann announced the founding of Stories for Tomorrow in December 2020, it was clear to Vanessa Eisenhardt: “I have to be there!” and she volunteered.

Due to her honorary posts, her work as a political educator, and her further academic path, she developed further areas of interest and research: anti-Semitic educational work, trauma, and biographical research, autobiographical narratives of Holocaust survivors, cultures of remembrance in a contemporary context and special units and organizations under National Socialism.

As the didactic leader of the educational work at ZWEITZEUGEN e.V., she further developed the concept, represented the association in the press, at meetings and conferences, she worked with volunteers to develop didactic materials in the field of Holocaust education for children from the age of 10 and teenagers. After starting her dissertation project, she continued to volunteer and work as a freelance political educator. In 2020, she designed a series of workshops for young people on the subject of perpetrators in National Socialism, which she conducted in 2020/21 at the Wolfhelm School in Olfen for ZWEITZEUGEN e.V. and the Karl Schiller Vocational College in Dortmund in cooperation with ZWEITZEUGEN e.V. and the BVB learning center.

In her free time, Vanessa likes to exchange theories about the Marvel Universe with her friends over a beer or Portotonic, she always finds a corner in her apartment that needs to be painted, where a plant is missing, or is still there a vintage piece of furniture needs. When she’s not trying out new cooking and baking recipes, she spends a lot of time with her dog, Miri.

Vanessa Eisenhardt supports program management in conception and methodology in many areas, conducts seminars herself, and enriches the program again and again with her ideas and her scientific expertise. She is currently working on these projects: Connect! – the festival, A year against anti-Semitism – our competence program and in our youth area.

Kathrin Joswig

Kathrin studied education and lives and works in Hamburg. For many years she has been active as a freelance media educator and is well connected. She is particularly fond of digital games in educational work.

She has experience in active media work with children and young people and also passes on her knowledge to multipliers in workshops and training courses. When it comes to finding creative and digital methods for a topic, she is there.

In her free time, she climbs rock faces (well secured, of course) or browses for odds and ends at flea markets.

Kathrin Joswig supports the team in these projects: Connect! – the festival and museum of dialogue.

Ilona Martijn 

Ilona is the creative nomad in our team. From Berlin, her life is shaped in different places in Germany and the world.

She studied cultural sciences and has been dealing with socio-political issues such as anti-Semitism and racism for years, especially with their cultural dimension.

Ilona Martijn is responsible for the Creative Writing seminar at the Museum of Dialogue. In our youth projects, this medium plays a central role in processing impressions and experiences and in reflecting on and expressing emotions.

No matter where Ilona is, she likes to spend her time like this: lying in the hammock at over 30 degrees and reading a book.

Jonas Heidebrecht 

Foto: Susanne Kurz

Jonas lives and works in the Ruhr area. He is a trainer in civic education, graphic recorder, and illustrator. He completed his training as a Betzavta trainer at the State Center for Political Education in North Rhine-Westphalia and works in the areas of democracy mediation, conflict competence, and international youth work.

As a graphic recorder, he supports workshops and conferences with live visualizations, finds images and structures, and secures the results in a creative way.

As an illustrator, he creates infographics, explanatory films, and educational materials for various organizations.

The graphic novel “Everything dead still and empty.” Drawn by Jonas Heidebrecht about the history of the Sintezza Hildegard Lagrenne was published in 2020 by the Center for Remembrance Culture, Human Rights and Democracy Duisburg.

For Jonas, democracy is an everyday practice, with the relationship between Germany and Israel being particularly important to him. He is active in the German-Israeli Society and helped organize a DE-IL youth exchange in 2019.

Jonas Heidebrecht brings his diverse talents and experience to Stories for tomorrow in the project “Connect yourself!” – the festival and especially in the Museum of dialogue.

At this point we would like to lose a few lines about Jonas’ special qualification as a Betzavta trainer:

Betzavta, Hebrew for “togetherness”, is a method of experience-oriented democracy teaching developed at the Adam Institute Jerusalem.

The exercises developed in Israel against the background of a conflict-ridden, but also strongly multicultural and pluralistic society aim to make democratic practices and processes, but also conflicts and contradictions tangible in a realistic way.

The basic idea is that differences and conflicts are an important part of open and democratic societies, but we rarely learn to deal with them competently and patiently. Therefore, the group exercises focus on creating conflicts and differences and working on them creatively.

The focus is on raising one’s own awareness of the challenges and diversity of democratic coexistence.

More about Jonas at:

Instagram @jonas_heidebrecht