for the aamora series “Where I Live”
Stories of BERLIN PLACES told by passers-by, always
locals, who ask you why you take photos of
(apparently) trivial, ugly things … “so far away from the
center !” … but then they start to tell you … about people’s
… of Ahmad, a car mechanic and his workshop, which he painted completely azure, the blue of the sea, where he was born, grew up and hasn’t returned for a long time.
“actually, he could fix anything, even my wheelchair, and his wife shortened pants and when you picked up your altered pants or jacket you always got a Turkish cookie, with azure sugar icing.”
“Did you know that this used to be the foyer of one of the first big cinemas in Berlin? 1920 or so. The owner was expropriated in 1936 and was deported with his wife to Auschwitz in ’43 and murdered there. most of the cinema was demolished in April ’45. only the foyer remained.”
“Tuna’ is the family name. this was a 23 vegetable and meat store on Mainstreet. but only made it for one year. there are more and more, what are they called ? hoppters, hippsters !, they only eat organic stuff. Tuna had only cheap, sprayed vegetables and fruit and certainly no tuna for their rice rolls !”
Stairs, weathered, as if in an enchanted, overgrown garden. stairs leading up from abandoned ground under the elevated tracks of the (new) main train station; abandoned ground where bodies of political prisoners shot there in April 1945 are still buried below. 5 minutes walk from the Chancellor’s office .
“man, get away!”
(one of the homeless people camping there, on the ground, under the tracks.)
… an almost playful, partly covered facade of the (former) district headquarters of the secret state police of the (former) German Democratic Republic, in whose cellar people who demanded democracy were tortured.
1 minute walk from the north Korean embassy. 2 minutes walk from the Russian embassy, built in Stalin style. 4 minutes walk from Hitler’s bunker. 5 minutes walk from the memorial for the murdered Jews.
Can a place be more historical ?
(no passers-by asking why you are photographing here, because all passers-by are photographing)
… the corner pub, the ‘Drei-Mädel-Eck’, which had to close in spring 2020, like all pubs because of Corona virus, and the owner, Mrs. Möbius, still optimistically or already sarcastically left the message ”be right back” on the blackboard.
“Maria died last year. the son can’t find a new tenant to sell the whole
inventory to. It will probably be an-oat-milk-coffee shop. I don’t even eat oats for breakfast, only when my stomach is grumbling. three spoons”
“now the building has been empty for years. the last one from the 19th century in the district. crumbling away. the owners do nothing, some mailbox company in Luxembourg. Chinese or Arabs. and someday it will be torn down and then a new building will be built there. as a wedding present, my parents-in-law gave us finest china dishes and solid Solingen knives. they bought them there, at Kallasch and Jonal in 1971, where else?”
“A former Borsig factory site, where in 1944 and 1945 forced laborers produced ammunition, as in this hall. today, this old site is enclosed like a capsule by the largest Vietnamese market in Europe.
“Well, the parents and grandparents of the people who stood there came to East Germany in the 1970s, guest workers, actually half forced laborers. They were ‘deputized’ by the Vietnamese government. Communist internationals. No East Germans liked them, they were much more capable. It’s the same today, because most of them live in East Berlin, outside in the prefabricated buildings, thousands and thousands of them.”
The Germans only like their own smell, bad as it is.
Home of an hermit, on a former summer camp site of the ‘free German youth’, the ‘communist’ youth organization of the GDR; boys and girls who did military training, on the outskirts of Berlin, near the Havel river.
“Yes, sometimes i walk across the grounds with incense. I was in India and Nepal for a long time and so I banish the old ghosts, this Stalinist whispering. Sometimes i still find these toy rifles in the undergrowth, which I then throw into the fire to cook some tea, no better use for wooden rifles. The station over there was built especially for the last emperor. he hunted deer in this forest.
Why didn’t deer hunt the emperor and spear him with their beautiful
“follow me, I’ll show you my neighbor’s ‘garden’. take some photos THERE instead of mine. send them to the authorities! the man is a messy one, collects everything. THERE ! hundreds of window panes ! the children throw stones over the fence from MY garden ! It just rattles ! even at night ! then all the lights go on at the neighbor’s house! all ! also in his garden ! like in a soccer stadium ! he comes out and mumbles something looking over to me: my god, what are you complaining about ?” !!
“I still have a suitcase in Berlin
Therefore I must go back soon
The blisses of times passed
They are all still in this small suitcase
(Marlene Dietrich, actress, chanteuse and anti-fascist)
check out Peter’s previous work on aamora