Rainer Hoess - Germany
Rainer is the grandson of the Auschwitz Commandant, Rudolf Höß. However first and foremost Rainer is dedicated to challange intolerance , hatred and discrimation. It's because if these believes that he and Simon founded Footsteps. In that spirit he's been educating students and adults alike on the Holocaust and what happens when hate becomes a weapon. Rainer is also the author of The Heritage of the Commandant.
Simon Bell - United Kingdom
Simon Bell is a former mental health nurse with over 37 years of National Health Service experience in England and co-founder of Footsteps. The first 15 years of his career were spent working in hospitals, and included – in old asylum care – looking after severely damaged, elderly survivors of the war in Europe and the Holocaust. These shadows of humanity had eyes that appeared not to see, but had tormented minds that sadly knew and saw too much. That instilled a long-held interest not just in the Holocaust but in the consequences of all hatred and discrimination. For nearly 22 years he worked with mentally-disordered offenders, and has dealt with most types of criminal behaviour, witnessed the consequences of crime, and dealt with those who have experienced the extremes of personal trauma. In the summer of 2016 Simon retired from health care. He is now studying for an MA in Second World War Studies: Conflict-Societies-Holocaust. He is also the author of: Auschwitz-Birkenau: From Hell to Hope, and Tribalism and Prejudice: The Far-Right and Lessons From History.
Simone Boersma - Netherlands
Simone is a pedagogue with 10 years of experience at primary schools and special education in the Netherlands.
In 2016 she started her final research to graduate as a pedagogue. From the beginning it was crystal clear that the subject would be trauma of children and youth resulting out of discrimination and prejudice within the current generation. She has been fortunate to meet and exchange correspondence with refugees, survivors, historians and others who shared this interest. As a pedagogue with an ecological vision, Simone believes it is important to maintain awareness and sensitivities to the impact that past experiences have for children and families in the present. Understanding different I Deal, and their origin is of importance if you want to be able to interact with each other. The consciousness of history is, as she thinks, of great importance when it comes to learning democracy attitude. History tells the story of the establishment of democracy, but also provides insight into the development of citizenship, and shows us how freedom, citizenship and democracy interact with each other.
Inga Jäger - Germany
Waldorf School Pedagogue, graduate Family & Social Advisor ,certified trainer in adult education for ethical communication, conflict management, and social arts, freelance work in mission statement work and management consultancy with farmers. Long-standing national and international studies in Anthroposophical Spiritual Sciences, Philosophy, Geotheanistic Natural Sciences, and art ,married, mother of five children. My love for future-oriented impulses has always been the motive of my actions – in pedagogy, in my seminars and in the social sphere. This includes an open-mind in thinking and reflection. This can lead to living knowledge that goes beyond the individual and can, in the best case, develop broader coherences regarding the development of the world and mankind.
A social order based on values, which Footsteps advocates, does not arise through negation, but through affirmation, not through exclusion and prejudice, but through encounter and connection. A free community that stands up fort the dignity of each individual human being, that does not accept national tendencies and discrimination, but that creates a network of encounters in our present age of globalisation that is mutually supportive.
Ralf Dieter Kruger - Germany
Graduate Banker and business economist. 2 years personal adviser to the President of the Diaconal Ministry of the Protestant Church in Germany. 30 years Protestant parish priest in Württemberg; now retired as such. During this time, always responsible for diaconal projects. Systemic social therapist, trained at the Milton-Erickson-Institute in Heidelberg. Experience in addiction counselling for those affected and their relatives, counseling in criminal assistance. He founded the "Companion Help pathway sign e. V. (Gefährtenhilfe Wegzeichen e.V)" in the northern Black Forest and the "Institute for Multicultural Systemic Consulting". He is committed to always representing his own attitude courageously and well-founded, even if it is uncomfortable. At the same time, however, also allow others with a different attitude to do so. Genuine tolerance does not mean indifference, but to represent one's own attitude with conviction and at the same time to value other attitudes. This is the only way to deal seriously with the learning effect. Dissertation on Hans Joachim Iwand, an important theologian of the Confessing Church during the time of National Socialism in East Prussia. Grandnephew of the SS commander-in-chief and concentration camp commander of Sachsenburg Walter Gerlach. Only after meeting Rainer Höß in 2016 did he begin to reappraise his own family history.