"It didn’t take long until they said quite openly, even chanted, right to people‘s faces, 'now pack your things, we’re here now, we don’t need any foreign workers' – FOREIGN WORKERS – and that was what first made me think something had gone wrong in that GDR."

Sanem Kleff on the turnaround 1989/90, 2021

Who is Sanem Kleff?

German unity?

Looking back at the transition period after 1990

How has Berlin changed in the last thirty years?

Racist and xenophobic violence after the fall of the Wall

Impressions of West Berlin up to 1989

What was Kreuzberg like during the Wall era?

Where were you when the Wall came down?

Consequences of the fall of the Wall for West Berlin

Sanem Kleff was born in Turkey and trained to be a teacher. As a young adult she moved to West Berlin, where she taught at schools in Kreuzberg and was active in the trade union. Her aim then as now was to ensure equal access to education for all children and young people. She was in Berlin when the Wall came down and still lives there today. She remembers the nationalist tendencies that attended unification and marginalized immigrant Berliners, and the growing danger of racist violence in the years following 1990. Looking back at 1990, Sanem Kleff criticises the self-delusion with which the German government and large sections of German society claimed that unification could be easily accomplished. Since 2000, Sanem Kleff has run the anti-racism school project "Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage", a network of schools promoting human dignity.

"The majority looked at me and people from migrant backgrounds as if they were in a zoo."

Sanem Kleff, 2021

Additional information:

On the "Schule ohne Rassismus" network: https://www.schule-ohne-rassismus.org/

Contemporary witnesses