Okay, go!

My name is Niklas.
I am Ms (M…)

German sign language

Now we’ll move on to some questions. What are your favorite animals?

My favorite animals are cats, hamsters and dogs.

What are your favorite animals?

Cat and dog.


Because … I don’t know.

What is your favorite animal?

A bumblebee!

A bumblebee?

A bumblebee.

A bumblebee, okay!

What are your favorite animals?

Dog, cat and lynx.

What are your favorite animals?


Why is that your favorite animal?

Because it is cute. I like puppies best because they are small, cute and active.

What are your favorite animals?

Anything except insects, but the butterfly is an insect I like … and bees.

What are your favorite colors?


So everything.


What are your favorite colors?

My favorite colors are purple, pink and blue.

What are your favorite colors?

I don’t have.

What are your favorite colors?

I don’t have any favorite colors.

Not even black or white or blue or green?

No! I think all colors have their charm.

Well then say: all of them.

No, in this case you can’t call it favorite colors.

And on it goes: Do you like the school?


Why do you like it?

Because you make a lot of friends there.

Do you like school?

I never did!


Do you like school?



Because you can learn a lot there.

I don’t like school because I have six hours of classes and it bugs me.

Why does that annoy you? I mean, after all, it’s important for continuing education and stuff.

It bugs me because the classes are boring.

Do you like the schools here in Berlin?

No, I don’t like the schools in Berlin or in general in Germany. I think the education system as it is right now is terrible and it should be reformed.

(Wait a minute! Wait a minute!)

And do you have any questions?

Yes, one: What’s your favorite food?

My favorite food…?

Yes, your favorite food!

I love salad. I think salad is really good.

Why do you like to eat it?

Because it’s always so fresh and diverse.

Is it possible that you are a vegan?

Nah, I’m a vegetarian.

Not vegan?

Nope. Why, I just don’t fit into your statistics right now…?

Because through the plants and trees and stuff comes oxygen and so we have no oxygen, if you eat away all our plants here.

That’s right! You’re right, wow.

So you are vegan?


German sign language

German sign language




Ac-cep-tance! … That was slow now comes evil: acceptance! … Does not fit. Ac-cep-tance! Now angry: Acceptance! And now in love: Ahhh-Ohhh-Acceptance!

Slowly: so-rry! Sorry! Angry:  Sorry!!! … sweet.

German sign language

What is your favorite language?


Why is it your favorite language?

Because it has clear sentences.

What is your favorite language?


Why is it your favorite language?

Because I don’t know any other.

What is your favorite language?

My favorite language? Actually, I don’t have a favorite language.

I think my favorite language is people’s body language, like facial expressions, gestures, posture.

And why?

Because you can read out much more emotions and you can communicate with the body in general, even if I don’t know the verbal language, I can still communicate somehow and I can still communicate.

What is your favorite language?

My native language.

And which one is that?

That’s private. 😉

German sign language

I close my eyes for a moment and listen to the sound of this place.

What should I do? Just listen?

I heard children talking.

I heard the sound of children talking to other people. And I still heard the car traffic out there. And still, I’ve heard the TV program of my child.

I hear music, maybe. Talking, many people talking. And a loud car. And … only that.

I live in a street in Pankow, very quiet.

In this place I can hear the sounds of the birds, otherwise leaves and the wind. Or the foot rubs… or the people walking along.

I live in Buch, in a very quiet street. Cars rarely pass by. Most of it is dog owners all walking their dogs at certain times. Still, it’s not noisy, the dogs don’t bark much.

Some people on the street. And that was nice to hear. And a dog, I think a small dog. And – that was funny – I could hear my stomach.

Silence and being alone.

German sign language

What is your favorite place?

My favorite place is at my house.

Uhh, my home.

The crosswalk.

And why is the crosswalk your favorite place?

Because I can cross there anytime I want.

What’s your favorite place on the street?

On the street?


Actually, the parking lot.


Because … because it’s so quiet there.

In Pankow there is a place where I like to go, it’s the Schloßpark, around the corner from my home. I go there very often, especially in spring and autumn … always. I have the feeling that – especially in spring – it’ss like a bit of a fairy tale park, where maybe there are fairies and other fantasy life creatures, which maybe I will meet once. There is also the Panke, the small river that goes through. I always have the feeling that one day maybe there will be a tour of the fairy world.

Can you perhaps tell a concrete moment? A small memory that you have of this place (with these fairies)?

In spring, for example, there is often this moment when all the trees are suddenly green. Everything is dead in winter and empty and then suddenly, in one day everything is green. And then you think, hey, what happened here? There is somehow magic: from one day to the next everything is alive again. I have that every year. It’s not an anecdote that just happened to me once. It happens to me always, every year. I try to find that day when I will have this surprise.

German sign language

I can remember when I met my husband. His grandparents were in East Berlin and we went over together for the first time. And I was not used to that. I was born in West Berlin, my whole family is from West Berlin, and then we went over and were checked and put in this little room, with checks, and I got scared somehow. I thought I wouldn’t get out of there … with the machine guns and all. We didn’t know that. Well, I didn’t know that. And then I just heard my husband saying: Don’t say anything, don’t ask anything, just keep your mouth shut until we get to grandma’s and grandpa’s house. Watch out, stay calm! So I had been there just once, the second time I didn’t go over because it was just too scary, too cramped over there. Yes … because he said, one is controlled and I know … my husband for example, under his ID photo there was such a red point, however, it was somehow marked.

That was not an isolated case. It was like that, yes. Anyone who wanted to go to East Berlin was checked. And when I was able to travel to the West for the first time, that was in 1986, I went to my aunt’s 70th birthday party and we were also checked and we had to go through this hall and there were people’s police everywhere with guns and immediately when you came to the station. On the train, you were stopped again, there was control. This was the way of this system. So…

German sign language

So, what do you think, is there or was there discrimination?

Well, I think that here in Berlin it was a bigger problem because of the wall. Well, I was in Luckenwalde, 50 kilometers south of Berlin and we had not at all the problem with a wall. We had our lives there and it didn’t affect us as much as it did the people here. And I think with the opening of the border, this confrontation was different from ours, where people just came occasionally. I have to say that the factories were all closed and the good machines that were there were all transported to the West. They took the factories over for a penny. That’s how it was. But well, these personal conflicts didn’t happen there, because the mass of people didn’t face each other the way they do here, in a city where suddenly a wall was gone and then …

Both sons wanted to work as seaman but were rejected. First, they were allowed to attend school, graduate from high school, and then they didn’t get a seaman’s book and had to see how they got along, and all because I had a brother in the West, although we hardly had any contact with him. That was very drastic for my two sons. One never got over it, and my other son, he learned three jobs before he really settled down in the end.

People from Luckenwalde, which belonged to the GDR, to the East, went to work in West Berlin, and conflicts arose as a result. In relation to those who worked for us and were actually active for our region in relation to those who then simply drove away and helped themselves in West Berlin.

I was married for almost 50 years and my husband worked 45 years at the police. In my company I sat together with 5 men who watched Western television. Western television was not allowed for the police nor anyone else. Yes? Now I always sat there and listened to them talking about Denver Clan and Dallas and all these things, and then they said, “Oh, let’s be quiet for once, Christine is completely quiet, who knows, maybe she’ll blacken us somewhere. Then I got up and said literally: “You can kiss my ass!” Yes, that’s what I said. But I couldn’t go out when they wanted to talk about their TV lesson. I had to do my work, too.

German sign language

And what is your experience with East and West?

The border is still in people’s minds, as well in the younger generations. That the cohesion is no longer there. In general, after such a long time, we should be a community, but some people still make differences. When we moved here, in 2001, my son was in a soccer club. We participated in games and also parties and all that. And at some point it came up: Where do you come from, from which area? We said from West Berlin and then we sat alone at the table. 

We’ve been together here for 30 years now, and I find that unbearable!

German sign language

What do you miss most from the GDR?

We lived well in the GDR. We had cheap rents. We were able to buy what we needed to live. And today … It was … We didn’t have to be afraid. We didn’t have to worry about anything. We had to change completely because we were actually left alone. Whether you go to this specific health insurance company, whether you do that or every time … A lot of new things came up for us. I liked it – I was still many years younger. The fact that – how shall I put it – well, we didn’t know that the situation to be left alone. Our young women who had children were supported. The social welfare system was good. So we were left alone, like the many people now who can’t stay in their apartment even though they work … Even as pensioners we’re actually afraid of what’s coming for us now.

Same with the job situation.

Yes! Everyone is now more afraid than before.

The cohesion among people was also …


We were … We all held together in a different way..


We were actually in good hands in our collectives. We celebrated nice parties: Work parties, women’s day celebrations, yes.

There’s nothing like that anymore.

There are no more rooms here, no more money, and socializing among colleagues is not supposed to happen anyway. That is not appreciated.

Even in the apartment buildings it was quite different in the past. In our houses it was quite different with the neighbors. So that was … What’s happening today is that you hardly know anyone there, or just … At most, I got them to say “Hello!” but that’s all. Then everyone goes. That’s how it is today …

It was different. It was different before.

It was different, it was completely different!

Where is your heart?

On the left!

And what does “left” mean? The East?


German sign language

I wish there would be a playground near the youthclub “Würfel”, where there is a ferris wheel, a roller coaster and so … all for free!

I wish there would be no school in Buch.

Now she wants to say something.


I wish that in Buch – here in Buch or in a book? – there would be a giant trampoline where you can jump for free.

German sign language

I also have in my card something, pictures, and look one out, some photos, and what is that exactly, my feelings? I have this photo here, this is my homeland, this comes from my homeland, there is not much freedom. I want to be quiet in my homeland. I always have good feelings about that. This is good feelings, for me in my homeland.


Iran. And a lot of freedom, a lot of life and people can just dance, be happy and drink coffee quietly or take pictures and do anything they want. But now there is nothing. They can’t!

From Syria. Always war for 12 years. Always fear all children. Always all old, families is fear. No life, no good sleep, no good meetings, no work. Now there is no heating, no gas, no electricity, no water. Life, that is human – also no life. Unfortunately! When I hear, I think: why? For example (…), there is heavy war in Ukraine, but all people come here. But my country is the problem: big cold now, same as Germany. War and cold and life, family life. But maybe (…), if there was no war, I would be in my country. War is finished, also my family would all be with me here or in my country. And all children, life is without war and without (…), without problems. And all animals also live without war and all countries would be without war….

I wish we would have a place like the UNO, which has however an executive, which thus really, if there is a war somewhere, simply can go and say: Sit down, 0 points! No war! Done!

German sign language

I wish we live together, play together, meet, eat.

I also want a freedom country and be happy and be quiet. Cleaner and much more sporty. This is life, good feeling. That’s all.

German sign language

In the year 2040 aliens land on our earth. What is important as a recommendation to the aliens to survive here on earth? First, report to the alien registration office that one is registered and gets all social achievements. Second, a toilet so that one does not dirty the street and the third: soccer, because the whole world loves soccer and it creates a good atmosphere. It’s worth going there even as an alien. The fourth thing I would recommend to the alien is to go to the library. There he can read everything that happens in this world.

And the language?

He can learn the language in the library.


No, there are enough audios available.

For example, this one.

For example this one, exactly!

German sign language

I see in my neighbourhood that people are not nice.

I love when all the people in my neighbourhood say “Hello, how are you?” … I’m here.

And they are as alone as a wilted flower 

I don’t see friendship in my neighbourhood. Everyone is preoccupied with their own thoughts.

So I don’t know how it really is, but so far I haven’t noticed that we have a nice neighbourhood. I tend to see that Germans and foreigners are rather separated.

We definitely need to improve the way we live together, because I think Buch is actually very diverse, but so divided.

I’ve been in Buch for six years and I haven’t found a friend.

Some people say that migrants are no good

They will only be friends with Germans.

In the Buch Community Centre … Sometimes there’s a party. I’ve met a lot of people, but not…

In my opinion, I don’t see any friendship in the neighbourhood.

What do you like to do, what do you like?

I like my family, my friends.

I went to an event in Achillesstrasse for the first time. I thought it was great because it was the first time I’d spoken to lots of people.

No contact with migrants … they will only become friends with Germans. I also got to know a lot of young people who didn’t want to have any contact with me because they thought I was different, that I was a migrant.

In Buch, you don’t say “Hello, how are you” to a foreigner – not at all.

I already know that there are a lot of conservatives in Buch.

Only with Germans will they become …

German sign language

What makes you happy?

Many people think that Germans are not good or some say that migrants are not good. If this contact is established, then the others can understand each other. No, that’s just a thought. That is not reality. 

The Multiplikatorinnen can create good contact between migrants and Germans. 

(Something in Persian) 

Do you like Buch?

Now I do, but not before. Now, but yes, Buchis better. There are many foreigners who live here. There are a lot of foreigners, and in my flat there are a lot of Arab people, and I can get in touch with people; or if I need something, I tell the family and they are happy to help me.

I like my family, my friends…

German sign language

Do you like this question: do you speak German?

Not so much, because many people think that we don’t understand the language, but we do understand everything. Because we are new here, we can’t say all the sentences correctly.

I already know that there are a lot of conservatives here.

I have seen my talents; I can do things. For example, I was afraid to speak German, but when I went to the workshop, then I got “Konfident” that I can … yes, I can, I have to try and I can. I can do it.

I feel uncomfortable when I’m in the hospital or at the doctor. Because of the language, I can’t describe my problems well, then I feel uncomfortable.

German sign language

I know that there are a lot of conservatives here.

That was the case for me; I got to know a lot of people, a lot of young people, who didn’t want to have any contact with me because they thought I was different and I couldn’t speak German … and they wouldn’t help me either.


I speak Spanish



Attention, attention, At – tention

I already know that there are a lot of conservatives here.

I have a daughter who is darker than me, yes. And once my daughter told me that my friends say: “You’re like chocolate.”

Yes, we are much darker than German people, but both are beautiful. German people are beautiful, yes. But I think you’re the most beautiful daughter in the world. And then my daughter said to me: “But mum, I don’t like it when people say chocolate, chocolate, chocolate to me.”

German sign language

On the metro, a German man was very angry with me, I don’t know why. I didn’t do anything to him, didn’t say anything at all; and he said, “You have to go back to your country.” Then I said, “No, I like Germany… This is where I find myselfand I can do a lot of things here for my life and so on.” He told me, “No, see?, Your German is very bad.”

Do you speak German? Do you speak German?

Do you like this question: do you speak German?


Not so much. Many people think that we don’t understand the language. But we do understand it. But then I had a bit of fun with the man. I said: “I can speak 5 languages (haha) … I can speak Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, English and some others, I forget.” I said, “I can speak five languages – how many can you speak? … Who is better, me or you?”

I always think about how I speak, but I understand: No, movement is another language.

(Echo repeats) No, movement is another language.

I already know that there are a lot of ‘rights’ here, not ‘left’ but ‘right’, which politically means “bad.”

German sign language

I feel at home in the nursery where my little son goes because there are 3 nursery teachers there; they are very nice. Like sisters. We talk to each other, and when there’s a party at the daycare centre, they invite me. I help them because I feel at home.

There’s a park in Karow, quite far away, where I’m always alone. Sometimes I read books, sometimes I sing, yes. It’s nice.

German sign language

What don’t you like doing? What don’t you like?

I don’t like that a boy always teases me at school. He threw carrots at me at lunch and I threw them back and then there was a carrot fight.

Other accusations? 

I don’t like it when others take offence.

I don’t like them saying”Chocolate, chocolate”.

I don’t like going to school.

I don’t like doing maths and I don’t like, uhh, maths.

I don’t like school.

What don’t you like about school?

So many things. The people. The atmosphere. 

I like going to school, but I also hate it sometimes. So very rarely liking and … not liking it.

I don’t like when we have 2 more  German lessons, plus another hour of German, I don’t like that.

If you could change something in your school, what would you change?

I would change the classrooms so that everyone has a cosy chair, because the chairs are very uncomfortable. They hurt really badly because they pull the girls’ hair out really badly.

I would change the schoolyard because our schoolyard is really boring. 

Nothing, because I have lots of friends and the teachers are really nice.


I think I would abolish the whole school.

I would change the fact that the first and second lessons are separated because it’s unfair for the ‘second’ class to need help from the ‘first’ class. Then the teacher says “‘Secondies’ are coming now, you have to help the ‘firsties…'” and that’s unfair for the ‘firsties.’ That the ‘secondies’ are smarter than the ‘firsties’. I would change that.

That the yard break is longer.

The classes. Because there’s one, two together and then the third class. 1, 2, 3 – so the first are with the second, and the second with the third. All in one room, and we all don’t like that because the third can do more than the second or the first. For example, they can do 100 times 100 or something. 

That there are such strict teachers and educators …



German sign language

We’re in “Der Würfel” , at the girls’ meeting. What do you like about this place? Why do you like it? How do you feel when you’re here?


Well, I like it reasonably well, but I would change something. The mirror is a bit broken, so I would hang a new one. One half with just a mirror and then a climbing wall with a mat on the floor and, yes …

I feel really good when I’m here and what I like most is going to, um, this music room.   

I feel very comfortable. Everyone is very nice and fantastic.


What? Show me the card again, please.

Oh, really good.

It’s nice, I like it and I love it.

Yes, I love it in “Der Würfel”. Because you can play like this here. Get to know friends like Natalie, Leoni and … Michelle?


Yes, here, I love it most because of this swing.

I like the girls who are there. So, the children in general. And that you get food sometimes (giggle) and the atmosphere in general. It’s just great.

Describe the girls’ club in three words:

Cool, awesome when you’re bored and supportive, because when you’re sad, the girls are there for each other. 

Well, my place of work. I like the fact that I can organise so much and have so much freedom in my work. And that not everything is so rigidly prescribed. And that there’s so much free time and, above all, that the children can have so much say. I think that’s really good.

I feel good when I’m here and very relaxed. I like the cube because we also do cool things here.

What I like about this place is that all children from any country can come here; even if they are disabled, they can come here too. So, everyone can come here.

How do you feel when you are here? 

Accepted. Everyone can be who they want to be.

Here – really good. You can do everything here. You can play with your friends. You can swing, you can do sports, you can shout like this: AHHH

German sign language

Are you afraid of something? 

Yes, I’m afraid of the dark, of heights and of Cleo.

Yes, more like guessing. Some are really scary, ours. And tornadoes.

Of nothing at all. 

For example, losing people who are important to me, like her, here.

Of insects, spiders, snakes, silverfish and beetles. Dying.

I’m afraid of heights.

Do you feel safe here or are you sometimes scared?

Right now, no.

I’m afraid of the dark.

Where is the past? Is the past before the war? Is the past the war?

So, for me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s dark or light. I actually always feel unsafe on commuter trains, on the metro and in buses.

It’s important that women can get home safely and not always stay at home…

 … and then they don’t always get on the U-Bahn or S-Bahnsafely. Sometimes I have to travel alone, regardless of whether it’s – again – dark or light. I just feel unsafe at all times because I get strange looks, or strangers just stare at me. Then I don’t know what to do. Whether I should sit down or run away. And then, as a woman, you feel insecure.

It’s no longer funny. The war is getting closer and closer to us.

German sign language

Imagine you are mayorand you have three things you would change. What would you change?

That there is no more corona. That women also have rights.

It’s important that women can learn about what rights they have.

There doesn’t always have to be this difference between men and women. It should always be the same. As women, we should actually have the same rights as men, yes.

So, I would buy a lot of chewing gum and I would pay the kids’ club so that they could redecorate.

The mirror is broken as well.

There’s a day, once a year, a Sale Day, where poor people and other people can go shopping for no money at all. So, they can pack the whole car full and don’t have to pay anything – that would be once a year.

Everywhere where there’s a war… just get rid of it, if it’s possible.

Is the past the war? Is the past the war? Is the past the war?


Well, if I were mayor, um … More kids’ clubs.

Is reconstruction a thing of the past?

I would fund all the social facilities that exist in Buch really well, and permanently, so that they can work really well … and I would make the food in the day-care centres and schools free.

So, first I’d take all the money and get a house and food for my family. Then I would, um, yes, also set up a club against racism and people who say bad things to other people.

I already know that there are a lot of ‘rights’ here. 

Coexistence could be better.

I don’t love it when people say: “Chocolate, chocolate” to me.

I would respond to the children’s wishes. So, not disastrous wishes (laughs), like I don’t know, abolish the school or something. Sometimes … we just need school, as I said. Maybe create more shops and more toilet paper for the corona crisis.

Erm, what else would I do?

Stop a war.

Abracadabra! Incredible happiness … and then we’ll just be at war again.

German sign language

I would like to see a place like this where young people have a bit more to do with each other and really get to know each other. No matter how old they are or where they come from.

I would like to see a place where foreign children can learn their mother tongues better, for example how to read and write.

I want to run a project myself in 2024. Plan a project with other women and manage everything myself and have the results of this project in my hands by the end of 2024.

Publish a children’s magazine inmy homeland. And yes, I also know many women here with children who do everything and work.

I dreamt that as a “multiplier”, in some time, maybe five years, I would open a production company in Buch with the women there. Because there are many women who have talents and they can come together. For example, many can sew, many can knit. They can come together.

German sign language

Where is the past? Where is the past now? Is the past before the war? Is the past murder? Is the past reconstruction? Is there peace again? Abracadabra! Incredible happiness … and then we’ll just be at war again. Where is the past now, where is the future now, where is the beginning now? Where is the past now? Is the past the war? Where is the future now? Where is the beginning now?

German sign language

What is your name?

My name is Ramah.

What is your name?

You will be the mayor of Buch.

What is your name?


What is your name?

My name is Nuit.

What is your name?


What is your name?

I don’t like playing Barbie.

You hate Barbie

I know.

So, it’s a dream. You’re the mayor of Buch …

Oh yeah, that would be great.

La-la-la-la-laa …

What is your name?

My name is Shekiba

La-la-la-la-laa …

Ten and a half, so ten. 

I … yes, I’m actually 11

What is your name?

What is your name?

What is your name?

Well, if I were mayor …

I’ve said some really great things.

What is your name?


La-la-la-la-laa …

German sign language

AUDIOTHEKA is a sound map of Berlin, especially in Buch and Karow. This map was created together with the residents and sound artists. 

We asked ourselves what it sounds like in the neighbourhood, which voices are important and which stories need to be told. To do this, we organised meetings with neighbours of different ages. It is important to us to emphasise the diversity of languages and accents in Berlin. AUDIOTHEKA has also been translated into German sign language.

What would you like to hear more of in your neighborhood?
What will your neighborhood sound like in 30 years?
Can voices become (in)visible in the architecture of a city?