A production of Possible World, 2014
Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung
How was it in the past? Deaf contemporary witnesses report.
How did it use to be in school? Was sign language forbidden? How was it to learn to speak? Were you persecuted by the Nazis? How have you experienced the war? And is ist easier today for deaf people?...
A research project as part of the production THE DEAF TIME MACHINE. Some film interviews were featured in the theatre play.
On 14th of July 1933, the law to prevent future generations suffering a hereditary disease was passed by the Third Reich government. The law decreed that those suffering from a hereditary disease should be sterilised "rendered infertile by surgical intervention".
Cutting from an interview:
Where were you born in Berlin?
Charlottenburg. Charlottenburg, Preußenallee.
Are you deaf from birth?
Do you have deaf relatives?
Yes, on the mothers's side my grandparents are deaf. My father comes from a hearing family.
Where from did the Nazis konw who pales partly was deaf?Earlier ther was a document in it was put down: Grandparents deaf, uncles deaf, and they, they had to be sterilised..., with inheritance, otherwise not. These families were sterilised.
Was your mother sterilised?
Yes, mummy yes.
Wher was your mother sterilised?
In Berlin, by where excatly, I don't know.
Cutting from an interview:
No, on the 12th of May I have come into the world as hearing. And in September, October, 1944 was a heavy bomb alert. Thereby I have lost my hearing.
Where have you grown up?
Where I have gron up? In Berlin Steglitz. My brothers and sisters in Falkensee. The both could hear. Because my parents could not hear, they have sent me to my grandparents. My grandma has taken a lot of trouble and has taught me the speech. But don't ask me how and what I had to suffer.
Did your grandmother talk to you in sign language?
My grandmother did not allow me to use gestures.
What was the nicest experience in your childhood?
I was hit as a child a lot. From my grandma, from my father, from my uncle, from my greataunt- I have enough. I would not like to be over again a child.
Did you have deaf teachers at the school?
All teachers could hear. Everybody. At that time there were no deaf teachers. That did not take place, at that time.
Was it hard to learn to speak without hearing?
Actually. But one has felt if one gives a hand as the tone sounds. Wheter he is there evenly or wheter such a beep is. One feels tone, e.g., with a ball, he vibrates if one touches hi. If music comes, one touches the ball or the table if somebody knocks. The one feels this. Or if one stamps with th feet, there wobbles the ground. This also I feel.
How did your grandmother teach you, how to speak?
As soon as I did not pronounce correctly, for the third, fourth or fifth time, I was slapped in the face. This was not nice. I, also jumped out of the window. From the first flor, because, I did not want to spek anymore. I wanted to be left alone. It was very exhausting.
How important is sign language for you?
To me, sign language is my mother tongue. It is what I can say. If you cannot hear, sign language is very important. It is our mother tongue.
Seniors: Mrs Brümmel / Mrs Costrau / Mrs Hirsch / Mrs Klatt / Mrs Meier / Mrs Mohr / Mr Schubert / Mrs Schubert
Interviewee about Cochlea Implantat: Mr and Mrs Germar
Interviewer: Asya Avagyan / Hend El-Kadi / Inara Ilyasova / Cordula Zielonka / Eyk Kauly / Nikola Vujicic / Frank Weigang / Wille Felix Zante
DIRECTOR Michaela Caspar / VIDEO Jens Kupsch / VIDEODESIGN Marcel Fiedler / CLOTHING Gabriele Wischmann / SIGN LANGUAGE TRANSMISSION Anka Böttcher