Closing the Representation Gap

A Conversation with Karamba Diaby

Portrait of Diaby sitting on a staircase

Karamba Diaby; photo: Michael Bader

The first black man in the German Parliament — that’s often how Karamba Diaby is introduced. In his book Mit Karamba in den Bundestag: Mein Weg vom Senegal ins deutsche Parlament (With Karamba to the Bundestag: My Journey from Senegal to the German Parliament) Diaby provides fascinating insight into his life, a story of many toppled prejudices.

On June 1, 2017 he will introduce his book as part of our series “New German Stories” and discuss his journey from Senegal to East Germany, his experiences after German reunification, casual racism, and not least the goals and visions he holds as a Member of Parliament. Sithara Weeratunga and Serpil Polat asked Karamba Diaby three questions in anticipation of the event:  continue reading


What You Saw, When You Lay on Sigmund Freud’s Couch

One hundred and sixty-one years ago today Sigmund Freud was born. In honor of his birthday we would like to recommend a video by Nurit Yedlin, which discusses the founder of psychoanalysis with the aid of a miniature version of Freud’s study in Vienna.

A film by Nurit Yedlin, Tel Aviv, 2016

For 47 years Freud treated his patients in the study reproduced here, before emigrating to London via Paris with his family after the Nazi annexation of Austria in June of 1938.

If you’re in a more playful mood you can address the question of what you actually see when you lie on that couch — in an online game on our website that we developed here at the Jewish Museum Berlin for a past exhibition on psychoanalysis. You will find further documentation of that show as well as publications on Freud and his work at www.jmberlin.de/en/sigmund-freud

Have fun browsing!


A great example of what Germany’s achieved in recent years: release him!

Photo of buildings in Berlin’s Kreuzberg-Mitte district

View from the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin towards the Springer building with the lit-up sign, #FreeDeniz; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Stefanie Haupt

As I leave my office at the Jewish Museum Berlin, emerging from the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy onto the street, the hashtag “#FreeDeniz” beams towards me from an illuminated black-on-turquoise-green display on the Axel Springer building. The first time I saw it, I was cheered by the signal that the publishing house Axel Springer SE* was calling for the release of Die Welt’s correspondent in Turkey, Deniz Yücel. But each day seeing the display has gotten sadder. I’ve known Deniz Yücel since 2003, when — together with other German- and Turkish-speaking Berliners — he organized bilingual protests against the bomb attacks on the two Istanbul synagogues, Neve Shalom and Beth Israel, on November 15 of that year. Twenty-four people were killed in those attacks and at least 300 wounded.

Deniz and I haven’t had contact for quite awhile. But since mid-February, through the news of his imprisonment for “terrorist propaganda” and the car procession protests that followed it, as well as conversations with friends and of course the illuminated sign, memories from the period in 2003 and 2004 when we interacted almost weekly having been coming back.  continue reading