After the Escape – Finding a Home in a Foreign Land

DW Transtel | 88 4903
1 x 45 min
Worldwide, VOD, M, IFE

Judith Kerr, Aeham Ahmad, Saša Stanišić, Nneka Egbuna and Antonio Skármeta come from four different continents and have one thing in common: They all fled war, hardship or persecution and started over in a new and unfamiliar place. Culture became their key to integration. Books, films and music helped pave the way.

“Isn’t it wonderful to be a refugee?” ten-year-old Judith Kerr shouted across the rooftops of Paris in 1934. She and her family had fled Nazi Germany one year earlier. Escape was a great adventure for her, and her parents didn’t let her sense their fear. Today, the world-famous writer (“When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”) lives in London and says: “For me, England was my home at the end of the war. But it wasn’t for my parents. They never belonged anywhere.” It’s a story typical of many refugee families.

Aeham Ahmad, “the pianist amid the rubble” of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, keeps wondering why he of all people survived while so many others didn’t. Saša Stanišić has become a renowned German-language author after fleeing the Bosnian War in 1992 at the age of 14. Musician Nneka Egbuna who fled the violence in her family in Nigeria as a teenager, lives in Lagos, Hamburg and Paris but isn’t truly at home anyplace – “home” to her is a feeling. Author Antonio Skármeta was no longer allowed to work at home in Chile after Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’etat in 1973, and lived in exile in West Germany.

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