See how people who had to flee to Germany and Europa tell their own story through art.
On the walls they have drawn their memories of the lost homeland, the strenuous flight, the dangerous sea, drowning people. Parts of bed frames, no longer needed in emergency accommodation, have been composed by them in such a way that the works remind you of tents, boats or the lost daHEIM. Their personal histories make them representatives for a vast number of people and formulate in this way the collective sentiments of generations of those who have become homeless: these are Glances into Fugitive Lives.
The happiest day of his life was when he set his foot on Italian soil. He experienced the darkest days after a failed escape attempt in an Egyptian prison on the border with Israel in 2012. Between these there were twelve years, in which he lived in a tent camp. “We were well received in Eritrea,” Bereket says, remembering the war which broke out in 1998 in Ethiopia. His family, who had supported themselves by cultivating cereals, was driven away that time from their life in the village of Bademe.
A few days after he had decided for himself that his school days were over, a man who built roofs attracted his attention. He was fascinated by the craftsmanship needed for this. The craftsman took him on as an apprentice and two months later Bereket completed his test piece at the end of the apprenticeship. In Ghergef, located in a fertile area and a day's journey from the camp by car, Bereket built a first roof over their heads for his family – a straw-thatched “agedo”, in which his parents live up to today.
His father still weeps when he phones his eldest son. It is uncertain when the family will see each other again.
(Text: barbara caveng)
Ina, 23, had to leave everything behind in Iraq, family and friends, all her belongings. Only a ring she could bring to Germany. In the exhibition she shows a series of drawings.
Ina Sado was born at 10/6/1993 in the town of Shingal, Irak. She lived there until 8/3/2014 sharing her life with seven brothers and sisters, father and mother. After eleven months and eight days living in Berlin she got the “Blue Passport Germany”. This travel document certifies that Germany grants her asylum to protect her from persecution in her country of origin. In June 2016 Ina moved to Cologne, where she wanted to lived with her fiancé and continued her studies in biology.
Anna Seghers' lifeblood was the literary work and commitment among the exiled persons. In 1942 “Das siebte Kreuz” (The Seventh Cross) was published, one of the most important novels about Germany during the period of National Socialism. In 1947 she returned to Berlin and lived in the eastern part of the city. From 1952 to 1978 she was President of the Schriftstellerverband der DDR (Association of Writers in East Germany). She died in 1983.
"In addition I worked as a shepherd and looked after the donkeys. From 1971 onwards I attended the primary school in the village. Later I went to the 'Oil Fields School of Rmeilan'. It was especially hard in winter to walk the three to four kilometres to school. After I passed my school-leaving examination I enrolled at the University for Agriculture in Damascus. It wasn't until ten years later that I was able to finish my studies because I had to work the whole time to finance my life. Following this I was appointed to the 'Syrian Association for Trade and Sale of Cereals'. There I carried out my job until the civil war in Syria forced me to leave the country in 2011."
Magdalena and her children were under the supervision of the commander's office in Kazakhstan without the right of freedom of movement until 1955. It was not until 1990 that she was recognised as a victim of “illegal deportation” and political reprisals and was rehabilitated. On 31/3/1993 Magdalena left Kazakhstan for Germany, together with her youngest daughter, as a so-called laterepatriate, where she died on 11/10/2003 at the age of 88.
Dachil wanted to become an engineer. During his first year in Germany he took a completely different direction. He is one of the curators of the exhibition.
As a seven-year-old child, he had to experience what it means to be excluded from society: born to an unmarried mother, he couldn't be protected by his mother from the laws of an archaic society. He fled across the border to his uncle in Pakistan. He heard of his brothers' lives in Paris and in Switzerland and looked at the photos they sent him. Films illustrated his idea of Europe.
“At around this time, I thought that the better countries for me, my life and my future were in Europe. When I finished school, I was faced with problems, and I started looking for a country where no Muslims live. After one year, I found it. In Liechtenstein, there were no Muslims and I found it a better country for my future.” So he went from Afghanistan to Liechtenstein. And when the Liechtenstein people said to him, “We are too small, we have no place for you, you must go back,” Jasim then went to Switzerland and his hope to find a place to stay there made the small country a large one.
Five years have passed disquietingly, making him tired. His fate now makes him consider moving to the “big” Germany. He says, if Germany cannot provide protection to him, he will no longer know where to go. On the windowsill in his room in the asylum camp lies the biography of Nelson Mandela titled “Long Walk to Freedom”.
(Text: barbara caveng)
barbara caveng is one of the curators and the initiator of KUNSTASYL.
Exhibition daHEIM: Glances into Fugitive Lives
22.07.2016 to 02.07.2017 at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen
A cooperation project between the Museum Europäischer Kulturen – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, barbara caveng and KUNSTASYL
Overall responsibility for the project: Elisabeth Tietmeyer
Art direction: barbara caveng/ Aymen Montasser/ Dachil Sado
Texts: Museum Europäischer Kulturen/ KUNSTASYL/ barbara caveng
Editing: Alina Helwig/ Lisa Janke/ barbara caveng/ Elisabeth Tietmeyer
Realisation: Lisa Janke
Photographs: Ute Franz-Scarciglia
Translation: Übersetzungsbüro Nastula
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Publication "Glances into Fugitive Lives"