Uncovering a Life Deemed ‘Unworthy of Life’

Why the Story of Hans Heinrich Festersen—Gay, Disabled, and Murdered by the Nazis—Matters

On September 8, 1943, Hans Heinrich Festersen was hanged at Berlin’s Plötzensee prison. Festersen, 35, had been arrested almost a year earlier, on October 12, 1942, for violating Paragraph 175, the German law prohibiting sex between men. He received his death sentence on July 13, 1943.

Though the Nazis had broadened the law and increased its severity, gay men were not usually killed for violating Paragraph 175. So, why was Hans Festersen killed, and how did his letters from prison to his sister Ruth Marie end up in a museum exhibit …

The 2023 Zócalo Book Prize Honors Explorations of Community | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The 2023 Zócalo Book Prize Honors Explorations of Community

We’re Looking for the Best Nonfiction Books on Human Connection

Since 2011, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the U.S.-published nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness …

The 2023 Zócalo Poetry Prize Celebrates Poems of Place | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The 2023 Zócalo Poetry Prize Celebrates Poems of Place

No-Fee Contest Submissions Accepted November 2022–January 2023

Since 2012, the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize has recognized the U.S. writer of a poem that best evokes a connection to place. Zócalo is currently accepting submissions. The deadline …

When War Comes for the Museum

I Led the Rescue of Syria’s Cultural Heritage—Here’s What We Need to Do to Protect World Treasures from Politics and Strife

Protecting cultural heritage during crises and wars is a big challenge, especially if conflict erupts suddenly and consumes a country with violence.

As head of the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums …

In Ukraine’s Resistance, Echoes of Past Struggles | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Ukraine’s Resistance, Echoes of Past Struggles

The Defiance to Putin’s Invasion Highlights the Nation’s Long, Multigenerational Drive for National Self-Determination

Ukrainians refer to Russian TV and its viewers as “Zombieland,” having long ago developed an immunity to the main talking points of Vladimir Putin’s mindless propaganda war.  They know the …

Please Tweet @ Your #History Teacher

Navigating Misinformation, Hashtags, and Trolls Helps Teach Our High School Students to Be Good Digital Citizens

For most teachers, social media has no place in a classroom. When they do use it, they often retreat to or remain within the safer confines of “walled garden” discussion …