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"What belongs together is now growing together?"

Viewpoints on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: A film screening, lecture and panel discussion

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the process of German Unification are anchored in the memory of the majority of society as important aspects of the “Peaceful Revolution.” Yet how did members of social minorities in East and West Germany experience that historic upheaval, the pogroms in Rostock-Lichtenhagen and Mölln, and the other violence that followed in its wake?? Which role did they foresee for themselves at that dramatic moment, when it was claimed, “the nation re-invented itself?” And did a process of “growing together” take place also within their respective communities?
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin cordially welcomes you to a screening, lecture and panel discussion on this topic.

Lecture by Dr. Patrice Poutrus (University of Vienna) and panel discussion with representatives and experts from various minority communities.

Past event

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin (Opposite the Museum)


5 pm: Film screening Duvarlar-Mauern-Walls
Dir. Can Candan, USA/Turkey 2000, 83 min., Tur./Eng./Ger., with German subtitles
Duvarlar-Mauern-Walls documents what the fall of the Wall and German Unification meant for Berliners of Turkish origin interviewed here in the period 1989–1991.

6 -7 pm: Break

7 pm: Lecture by Dr. Patrice Poutrus (University of Vienna)
Migrants and so-called “contract workers” by no means enjoyed equal rights supposedly transnational socialist society of the former GDR. On the contrary, they were expected to conform to existing norms both at work and in private, and to unconditionally defer to state authority. When systemic crisis loomed large in 1989, former contract workers came under terrible pressure in all respects. Faced with either a return to their native country or the uncertainty of an asylum application, they became pawns in domestic political affairs—and it quickly became apparent that Germany would pay almost any price to avoid hosting migrants.

Followed by a panel discussion with Sanem Kleff (Schule ohne Rassismus - Schule mit Courage), Mai-Phuong Kollath (Coaching & Interkulturelle Beratung, Berlin), Peggy Piesche (Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies) and Hermann Simon (Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin - Centrum Judaicum)
Chaired by: Dr. Bilgin Ayata (Free University of Berlin)

Dr. Bilgin Ayata is a fellow of the Working Group on Transnational Relations, Foreign Policy and Security at the Otto Suhr Institute at the Free University of Berlin. She lectures and pursues research there on the topics of migration, conflict and postcolonial theory.

Sanem Kleff is chairwoman of the board of the non-profit organization Aktion Courage e.V. and since 2000 director of the German branch of the European project "School Without Racism - School With Courage." Since graduating in German Language and Literature from the University of Ankara she has worked inter alia as a lecturer in advanced teacher training at Berlin’s Landesinstitut für Schule und Medien (LISUM: State Institute for Schools and Media) and as an interpreter.

Mai-Phuong Kollath works as a coach and intercultural counselor. She was born in Hanoi and arrived in Rostock in the former GDR at the age of 18, as a contract worker. After graduating in Educational Science, she was director of the Office for Migration and Refugees in Rostock for 16 years and has since shared her expertise by participating nationwide in diverse Federal and Länder working groups on migration and integration policy.

Peggy Piesche, a scholar of Literature and Cultural Studies, lectures and pursues research at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies. She was born and raised in the GDR, and has been active since 1990 in ADEFRA e.V. (the non-profit organization of Black Women in Germany). Her primary research focus is the field of Black German and European literature and history viewed through the lens of critical whiteness studies.

Dr. Patrice Poutrus is a historian and social scientist and currently a Lise-Meitner Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. His doctoral thesis was on the history of consumerism and power in the GDR. He is currently pursuing research into mass media and migration in the inter-war period (1918-39) in Vienna and Berlin.

Dr.Hermann Simon was appointed director of the New Synagogue Berlin - Centrum Judaicum Foundation in 1988. He was born in East Berlin, studied History and Oriental Studies, and wrote his doctoral thesis on the topic of Oriental numismatics. He is editor of the two series "Jewish Miniatures" and “Jewish Memoirs” and other Centrum Judaicum publications.

Where, when, what?

  • When 6 November 2014, 5 pm
  • Where W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium

    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
    (Opposite the Museum)

    See location on map

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