Whispers in East-Berlin – die Geister einer (ostdeutschen) Familie

Fotografin Nashalina Schrape erschafft melancholisch-schöne, düstere Bilder, die den Betrachter in eine andere Welt führen (können). In ihrer Bildstrecke „Dreaming“ ging es um das Außer-Alltägliche, um Gefühle und Gedanken, die wir nur schwer greifen können. Ihr Fotoprojekt „Whispers in East-Berlin“ dagegen beschäftigt sich mit einem konkreten, sehr persönlichen Objekt – der Geschichte und dem Haus ihrer Familie.

Dieses Haus wurde 1941 in (Ost-) Berlin gebaut und begleitete Nashalinas Familie durch den II. Weltkrieg, die russische Besetzung und die Zeit der Berliner Mauer. In jedem Winkel des Grundstücks steckt ein Stück Familiengeschichte. Gefühle, Erinnerungen und unausgesprochene Gedanken von vier Generationen schwingen überall mit.

There were ghosts in the house. Breathing, moving slowly. Changing the shadows. They were memories. They were things that happened in the house in the past. They didn’t leave.

Nashalinas Fotos versuchen das Erbe des persönlichen Traumas ihrer Familie und die dunklen Erinnerungen an Gewalt, Verlust, Terror, Trennung, Krankheit und Unterdrückung aufzubrechen. Ein sehr persönlicher Blick auf ein Stück (deutsche) Geschichte nachträglich zum Tag der Deutschen Einheit.

I wonder about all the other things that stay in all the other houses in Altglienicke. In Berlin. Germany. Europe. The earth. I think we would do well to listen to them and honor them.

My grandfather, grandmother and my mother in 1939. My grandfather was an SS soldier. Part of the elite military force in Germany at the time. He was put onto desk duty after he incurred many seizures from his brain tumor. This is my grandparents wedding announcement along side some Forget-Me-Nots from the garden.

The family house was built in 1941. This is the neighbors house but ours in exactly the same. Except for ours in hidden in a myriad of trees and bushes. Only the very tip of the roof is visible from the street.

My mother standing in the field next to the route that was the road the Germans walked during the mass expulsion from Poland, after World War II. That land had been a part of German territory since the middle of the 1700s. 

My mother’s first memory was red cherry pit stains in a green rug in the house, where Russian soldiers had spit them out during the invasion of Berlin, at the end of World War II. My grandparents had planted this tree when they landscaped the house in 1939.

Wedding photo of my grandparents, with blossoms from the apple tree they planted. My mother often commented how the color of the paint on the floor looked like blood. This jug is from the family farm which was part of former Germany. 

ID photos from my mother during the erection of the Berlin Wall in the late 1950s. The larger image is my mother looking on from West Berlin when she became a political refugee from East Berlin. Notice the barb wire. 

After the war, there was nothing to burn for warmth and very little to eat. My mother had few toys. She did have this illustrated fairy tale book. For hours she would look at the images over and over again. This was her favorite.

The apples form the original apple trees planted in 1939. I have many memories of my grandmother eating two every night before she went to bed. And me pulling one off the tree as I was playing.

My mother’s hands stained from berries that are used to make jelly. My mother continues to carry on the traditions of living close to the land. 

My mother standing in the spot where her father was buried when he died in 1943 of a brain tumor. One day his grave stone was removed and the area was leveled. It became the site of the Berlin Wall. It was two and a half blocks from the house. Often, when she was a little girl, she would spend many hours sitting next to his grave.

Nashalina Schrape wurde in West-Berlin geboren und wuchs in beiden Teilen Berlins auf. In ihrer melancholisch-schönen Strecke ‚Whispers in East-Berlin‘ arbeitet sie ihre Familiengeschichte über Generationen auf. Inzwischen lebt sie in New York. 

Sie hat einen Master of Science in Kunst-Psychotherapie und gelegentlich ist die Fotografie ein Teil ihrer Arbeit mit den Patienten. Nashalinas fotografische Arbeiten werden international gezeigt, unter anderem in Deutschland, Japan, Russland, Rumänien, Türkei, Frankreich, Italien, Brasilien, Indien und der USA. 2015 gewann sie Gold in der Kategorie Reportage der GoSee Awards in Berlin. 

Nashalinas fotografische Arbeiten findet ihr auf ihrer Webseite nashalinaschrape.com und auf Instagram.

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