The fact that Germany hadn’t necessarily developed into a more free and open society in the years following reunification was realized in particular by the estimated 150,000 migrant workers living in the GDR at the time. From the beginning of the 1950’s, workers and students had already been coming into the GDR on the basis of treaties in the name of “socialist friendship” and had contributed to the wealth of society. Although the GDR was hardly the paradise that it purported to be, many of those from Vietnam, Mozambique, Chile, Algeria, Korea and other countries did manage to settle in the GDR – or at least to find temporary arrangements. The verbal and physical violence, which accompanied the hasty removal of their rights post-1989, briefly highlighted their presence, though it was immediately stigmatised under the heading “foreigner problem”. But racist violence and exclusion did not appear first in 1989, it had already been an everyday experience of many people in the GDR. Just as seldomly was it admitted that vows for “international solidarity” – alongside the often opportunist motives behind them – were taken at face value by many, and that the “internationalist” foreign policy of the GDR did offer real opportunities to East Germans and foreigners alike.
On the one hand, the program seeks to reconstruct the public perception of migrants from the Archives of DEFA and GDR Television and, in doing so, to discover at least traces of reality which exist beyond the ideologically standardised patterns. On the other hand, the program will give space and time for current artistic and activist stances, which deal with the topics from the perspective of the second generation of today.
Funded by Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung.
Tobias Hering is an independent film curator whose work focuses on thematic film programs dealing with questions of image politics and the role of archives. He has accompanied Grisey and Touré´s research at different occasions as a curator, moderator, and friend and contributed to their book Sowing Somankidi Coura, A Generative Archive (Archive Books, 2017). WEBSITE
Sun-Ju Choi studied film and screenwriting at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) and received her PhD on family concepts and representation in North Korean film. She is a board member of korientation e.V. – Netzwerk für Asiatisch-Deutsche Perspektiven and neue deutsche organisationen – das postmigrantische netzwerk e.V..