Fleeing your homeland to start a new life in a foreign country: Saša Stanišic, Aeham Ahmad and several other artists share their stories in DW’s online and TV special “After the Escape.”
“No one understood us and we didn’t understand anyone. The only thing that we could say in German was ‘Lothar Matthäus,’” said German-Bosnian author Saša Stanišic, who came to Germany as a refugee.
Stanišic is one of five protagonists in “After the Escape.” These cultural personalities reflect in a virtuous, poetic and intelligent way about their experiences as refugees trying to find their way in a new place. They hail from four continents, fled war, disaster or persecution only to land in a foreign country.
Four of them ended up in Germany: Syrian pianist Aeham Ahmad, Nigerian-German musician Nneka Egbuna, Chilean author and director Antonio Skármeta and Stanišic. Writer Judith Kerr, who fled Nazi Germany for England, also talks about her experiences after the escape.
The stories show how integration can be successful as well as the obstacles that can prevent this. “I had never been anywhere where someone could simply say what he or she needed and got it immediately. Like free education,” said Nneka Egbuna about her beginning days in Germany. “When someone called me a ‘Nigger,’ I thought: Am I a nigger? Wow, I had no idea.”
With their books, films and music, our protagonists show how they have tried to make a strange place their home. “The portraits show how immigrants have enriched the arts, culture and society in their adopted homeland. This is a documentary that provokes thought and at the same time inspires courage,” said DW’s Managing Director of Programming Gerda Meuer.
“After the Escape,” a project from the DW culture team with online and social media content, will be made available in numerous languages with a Pageflow special.