Experiences of Flight in Past and Present: Continuities and Discontinuities.

This short film shows the highlights of the We Refugees Archive specialist event on 15 May 2020 with academic and literary contributions and discussions by Tony Kushner, Widad Nabi, Annett Gröschner, Jutta Rosenkranz, Mascha Kaléko and Melina Borčak.



Dr. Anne von Oswald, Project leader of We Refugees – Digital Archive on Refugeedom, Past and Present

Lecture: Journeys from the Abyss: Refugees then and now

Prof. Dr. Tony Kushner, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations and History Department, University of Southampton


Widad Nabi, Kurdish-Syrian poet and author

German translation read by Annett Gröschner, author and journalist

Jutta Rosenkranz, author and biographer of

Mascha Kaléko, poet and author (1907-1975)


Melina Borčak, journalist, moderator and film-maker

The event “Experiences of Flight in Past and Present. Continuities and Discontinuities” took place on 15 May 2020 and in the Blue Hall of the Evangelical Church of Germany in Berlin and was broadcasted live due to the Corona Pandemic.

In terms of content, the event followed on from the We Refugees Archive programme and explored the question of the comparability of past and present experiences of flight. It commenced with the lecture “Journeys from the Abyss: Refugees then and now” by Tony Kushner in English, the transcript of the this lecture can be read in German and English here. This was followed by a literary reading on flight and exile experiences with the Kurdish-Syrian poet Widad Nabi (in Arabic and German) and Jutta Rosenkranz, who will present the life and work (poetry and prose) of Mascha Kaléko (in German). Works by both writers are part of the We Refugees Archive. The lecture and reading were followed by a discussion. The event was moderated by Melina Borčak.

We thank the participants for their stimulating contributions and the Evangelische Akademie zu Berlin for its support.

The event can be seen in full length here.


Camera and Production: Francesca Bertin