Maja Lenhardt

Maja Lenhardt has been teaching at the juvenile penitentiary, Jugendstrafanstalt Berlin, since 2002. In addition, she has been working as an online editor at the Jewish Museum Berlin since 2005 with an emphasis on picture editing. The Juvenile Detention Center Berlin Plötzensee (JDC) is the largest detention center for young adult males in Germany. Approximately 500 offenders aged 14 to 23 are imprisoned, many of them from immigrant families, many from Arab, Eastern European, and Turkish backgrounds. Curiosity about Judaism prompted Maja Lenhart to the Jewish Museum’s mobile educational “on.tour” team and its mobile exhibition to the JDC. For one week, five museum staff members dealt with the subject of German-Jewish history with around 100 juvenile detainees. Prejudices on both sides were quickly overcome and an interesting conversation ensued. To this day, some of the juvenile prisoners and museum staff exchange letters. She has since co-founded an education program in the drug addiction department where she has been teaching social sciences, photoshopping and social training among other classes. She has also implemented mediation and art classes in the school, by inviting painters, actors, directors and musicians to teach. Starting this year, her work at the prison will shift from the classroom further to voluntary projects for the young men: introducing a prisoner and guard cooperative newspaper and cooking and eating classes. The prisoners will cook for themselves and also invite guards to eat with them. >> site