Our Adventure Game: "Shadowhunters" - Instytut Pileckiego

As a result of Hitler’s order to punish the entire population of Warsaw with death for the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, between 15,000 and 60,000 Polish civilians were murdered in the Wola district of Warsaw between 5 and 7 August 1944. SS General Heinz Reinefarth, also known as the “Executioner of Warsaw”, went unpunished after the war. As if this were not enough, after the war he also became a member of the Schleswig-Holstein parliament and mayor of Westerland.

But now you have the opportunity to intervene in the course of history. Yet this can only be achieved with something tangible. Here you will meet witnesses and see documents that describe the course of those tragic events and contribute to solving the case. But will it really come to that? As in real life, there are multiple endings in the game – and it depends only on you whether the truth about Heinz Reinefarth will come to light.

But be prepared, because this case has it all – every piece of information, every clue and every hint counts. Talking to witnesses and people connected to the case can potentially help, but only if you are clever enough and have the right mix of tact and assertiveness. Every action in the game – every movement, every conversation or even just reading a document – takes up a certain amount of the time allotted to the game. After eight hours, the day ends. You better keep your wits about you, because you only have five days!

The game serves as an engaging and interactive teaching tool. Important historical content is conveyed in a casual way without sacrificing depth and objectivity. It is available in two language versions (Polish and German), free of charge, from the special website linked above. Whether individually at home, as homework, or group work in school, the game can be adapted to the pupils’ differing needs. The whole game takes between 2–3 hours, but does not have to be played through during a single session.

“The Shadow Hunters” is the first title in a series of planned publications in which players will have to solve unsolved mysteries and cases related to the Second World War. The aim of the project is to impart knowledge about forgotten fragments of history in a modern form. Since the player actively determines the course of history by means of multiple endings, it is able to better understand the twists and turns of the individual cases, the arguments of the parties involved and the social and individual dimensions of the decisions that shaped history.

The Reinefarth case is not only an interesting subject for a detective game, but also an important episode in wartime and post-war history. Heinz Reinefarth held high positions and offices in the state and military apparatus of the Third Reich. He was known for his brutality and ruthlessness. During the Warsaw Uprising, he was responsible for its suppression and initiated the Wola Massacre – an unprecedented killing of tens of thousands of civilians. After the war, and despite numerous testimonies about the massacre, he was never brought to justice. Why did this happen? This is what the players will have to discover.

The game was commissioned by the Pilecki Institute Berlin (PIB) and developed by GD Events.

Concept: Hanna Radziejowska (PIB), Stanisław Niemojewski, Marcin Mitzner

Check it out: www.dieschattenjaeger.de