The passport with Paragraph 5

Object Day Dresden: Elena Tanaeva

“Show us your story!” – Beginning in 2017, the Jewish participants in the Object Days project have answered this invitation by recounting their migration stories.

A woman shows a passport and other documents.

Elena Tanaeva, born in 1958 in Leningrad, USSR, now St. Petersburg, Russia.
Living in Germany since 1998.
Business administrator, director of the social affairs department of the Dresden Jewish Community.
Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Stephan Pramme

Among other objects, I’ve brought a Soviet passport showing the nationality as “Jewish” in Section 5. Actually, I was not supposed to hold onto this; the Department of the Interior was supposed to collect it. But I wanted to keep it and I schemed up a way. That nationality was important for the German Federal Office of Migration and Refugees, of course.

I moved to Germany with my son and my parents. My son was thirteen at the time, and at eighteen he would’ve been drafted into the Russian army. We didn’t have enough money to “buy him out” so I said, “Let’s go to Germany.”

In the 1970s, I was active in the Jewish Community in St. Petersburg. In Dresden, I now work as a social worker for the Community because I couldn’t get a foothold in my previous career. Since 2007, I’ve even had a permanent contract, which is a wonderful thing.

Share, Newsletter, Feedback