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Humans of Nürn­berg

 

Colourful, diverse and yet unique - these are the people of Nuremberg! We regularly tell a personal story in our series #humansofnürnberg.

“In 1945, I had to lea­ve my home­land the Czech Repu­blic very quick­ly becau­se I was mar­ried to a Ger­man sol­dier. With the help of my father, I mana­ged to pass the Ger­man bor­der in the midd­le of the night and I came to Michel­au and star­ted a car­pen­ter’s shop with my hus­band, Karl. The begin­ning was very hard for us, we had to work all day, and all night to make the busi­ness suc­cess­ful. In 1968, once the shop star­ted to take off, Karl died. I stay­ed in our house in Michel­au for many years until I moved to a reti­re­ment home in Nur­em­berg in 2005. My belon­gings were packed away and my beloved house emp­tied. Howe­ver, I’m glad I could take my pho­to­graphs with me to my new apart­ment. Now, I am very hap­py to live here. Life is much easier and I can afford things that I only drea­med of as a young woman. In the past, cul­tu­re didn’t play a big role in my life sin­ce we had to work hard for our busi­ness and were not able to dri­ve to the clo­sest thea­t­re which was in Coburg. During the last coup­le of years, I dis­co­ve­r­ed the cul­tu­ral varie­ty of Nur­em­berg: I visi­ted the thea­t­re and the ope­ra with a fri­end who also lives in the reti­re­ment home, I took part in a vin­ta­ge car tour, and even visi­ted a bur­les­que show. In Novem­ber, I turn 99, but I never think about it. The­re are many peop­le here, who whine about their medi­cal con­di­ti­on every day. My hands hurt too and I can­not see very well, but I would never com­p­lain about it. Tha­t’s just the way it is. I still want to be part of ever­ything, I would never miss one of my granddaughter’s con­certs and I’m loo­king for­ward to dance at the wed­ding of my second grand­d­augh­ter this year. To be sur­roun­ded by my fami­ly, to be the­re for them, tha­t’s what keeps me young at heart and gives me strength.”

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“I don’t think that the peop­le in Fran­co­nia are as grum­py as peop­le say. Peop­le tre­at you just as you tre­at them. It is like that all over the world, and of cour­se, also here in Nur­em­berg. I love this city very much and in my opi­ni­on, Nur­em­berg is the per­fect size. It is big, but not too big. I can dance until dawn in a club but also take in a quiet view from the cast­le. I moved here from Hers­bruck when I was 23 years old. After, I gra­dua­ted from fashion-school as a dress­ma­ker, after that I beca­me a pro­fes­sio­nal hair­dres­ser. A few years ago, just for fun, I took part in a wrest­ling event (NBG Trash Wrest­ling) and sur­pri­sin­gly, I deve­lo­ped a gre­at pas­si­on for it. When I told my par­ents, that I wan­ted to start wrest­ling, they thought I was total­ly cra­zy. They couldn’t under­stand why I wan­ted to start figh­t­ing as an adult when they pro­tec­ted me for my ent­i­re child­hood. The wrest­ling school in Heß­dorf beca­me my holy place. Here ever­yo­ne is the same. No one cares that I am a hair­dres­ser or even a woman in a per­cei­ved mas­cu­li­ne domain. When wrest­ling, you switch off your brain and dive ful­ly into the moment. I have never expe­ri­en­ced this befo­re with other sports or hob­bies. I love my job as a hair­dres­ser but wal­king around a chair is just not enough for me. After a wrest­ling ses­si­on, I always feel full of ener­gy and I feel strong — as if nobo­dy could ever harm me. Even though ever­yo­ne says that I have a screw loo­se, I want to impro­ve my skills and may­be even beco­me a pro­fes­sio­nal wrest­ler some­day.”

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“I have been mar­ried to my wife for 8 years now. We used to live in Odes­sa whe­re I worked as a pho­to­gra­pher and she ran a cof­fee shop. In the Ukrai­ne, we suf­fe­red from hos­ti­li­ty and our fri­ends and fami­ly tur­ned away from us, when they found out about our rela­ti­ons­hip. One day, our car was set on fire and we deci­ded to go to a safer place to live. In Ber­lin, we lived with my wife’s uncle befo­re we were sent to a refu­gee camp in Zirn­dorf. For us, this was the most hor­ri­ble place on earth. We had to move all the time and slept in con­tai­ners, cel­lars and tents. During that time, we felt safer pre­ten­ding to be sis­ters, as we sha­red small spaces with stran­gers, Mus­lims, and con­ser­va­ti­ve peop­le. Despi­te the dif­fi­cul­ties that we have been through, we have never ques­tio­ned our decisi­on to lea­ve. Our hope for free­dom and self-deter­mi­na­ti­on have always pushed us to go on. I still find it very sad that Odes­sa, this beau­ti­ful city by the sea, with all its tou­rists and nice pla­ces, couldn’t be a safe home for our fami­ly. Here, our daugh­ter is now in the second gra­de and she is very hap­py and has many fri­ends. My wife and I also have found peop­le who we alrea­dy hold clo­se to our hearts. In Nur­em­berg, we can have a free and safe life and we find many peop­le are open, sweet, and very accom­mo­da­ting. Soon I wish to work as a pho­to­gra­pher in this beau­ti­ful city and live a peace­ful, nor­mal life. Yet, the sea is some­thing that I will always be mis­sing.”

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„It is kind of cra­zy, how the pathways of peop­le cross some­ti­mes. Five years ago, I did a semes­ter abroad in Ire­land with the Eras­mus pro­gram of the European Uni­on. Up until that time, I had only lived with my par­ents and so I had to stand on my own two feet for the first time. I sear­ched for a room via a Face­book group and through this, I met my girl­fri­end Han­nah, who is Irish. Han­nah stu­dies Ger­man and during her stu­dies, she had been to Bam­berg for qui­te a long time, whe­re I on the other hand stu­di­ed eco­no­mics the­re. But, we never met. It’s qui­te fun­ny, as we now are a coup­le for more than three years. And while, having a long distan­ce rela­ti­ons­hip can be very chal­len­ging, becau­se you don’t see your part­ner every day and you miss the other per­son, it can also ensu­re that the time you do get to spend tog­e­ther is very spe­cial. Sin­ce we are tra­vel­ling wit­hin the EU, the flights luck­i­ly aren’t too expen­si­ve and we nor­mal­ly mana­ge to see each other every three to four weeks. We also go on holi­days tog­e­ther qui­te often to visit dif­fe­rent coun­tries or pla­ces. We also love to take road trips, lis­ten to music in the car and sing along to rock music or even Dis­ney songs. Of cour­se, I want to find my own path after uni­ver­si­ty and make decisi­ons about my care­er inde­pendent­ly, but, one of the big­gest goals is to live tog­e­ther in the same coun­try one day – no mat­ter if it’s Ire­land, Ger­ma­ny or some­place else.”

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“Gro­wing up in com­mu­nist Roma­nia under the dic­ta­tor Ceau­ses­cu, my fri­ends and I would always look lon­gin­gly towards the free­dom and oppor­tu­nities offe­red in West Ger­ma­ny. As an adult, I worked as an Eng­lish and Ger­man tea­cher and was the vice head­mas­ter of a school in Sibiu, whe­re the Ger­man sett­lers had shaped the Roma­ni­an lan­guage and cul­tu­re sin­ce the 12th Cen­tu­ry. In 1989, after the fall of Ceau­ses­cu, I came to Nur­em­berg with my two litt­le girls, cha­sing my teena­ge dreams of free­dom and oppor­tu­ni­ty. As a sin­gle mother, I sear­ched for a job that would sup­port us and app­lied to dozens of posi­ti­ons. Final­ly, I had my first job inter­view as a secreta­ry for the direc­tor of a medi­um-sized busi­ness in Nur­em­berg. The inter­view was going gre­at until he took a second look at my docu­ments and asked, sur­pri­sed, “You stu­di­ed at Uni­ver­si­ty? But aren’t you from Roma­nia?” I asked him why he had invi­ted me even though he thought that I wasn’t qua­li­fied for the job. He ans­we­red that he just wan­ted to meet “one of the­se peop­le,” and that he only knew Roma­ni­an women as house clea­ners or careta­kers. He see­med sur­pri­sed that it was pos­si­ble to have an intel­lec­tu­al con­ver­sa­ti­on with me. I was not offe­red the job, citing that I was over­qua­li­fied for the posi­ti­on.”

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“Gos­ten­hof was not always this hip neigh­bour­hood. When I was five years old, my fami­ly and I moved here and at that time, the district was very dif­fe­rent. Most of the peop­le, who lived here had very litt­le money, were refu­gees or had a migrant back­ground. Gro­wing up here I was con­fron­ted every day with soci­al issu­es: girls got pregnant very young and every now and then someo­ne I knew was sent to jail. As a kid, I spent most of my day play­ing with fri­ends on the street in order to spend less time at home with my abu­si­ve mother. When I was a teen­ager, I would hang around all day with my fri­ends in Jam­nit­zer Park, whe­re alco­hol and drugs whe­re often con­su­med right next to us. Once we found an inani­ma­te body in the trees the­re – I think he was dead. Life was hard and I felt that I was pre­dis­po­sed to fol­low what was in front of me. I couldn’t afford nor­mal things, like going to a cof­fee shop. When I was 13, I ran away from home and was put into a child­ren’s home and later a sha­red home. Here, I had peop­le who cared for me. In this quiet envi­ron­ment, I could con­cen­tra­te on school and my care­er. Today, I am a lawy­er and I often return to Gos­ten­hof to the palace of jus­ti­ce on Für­ther Stra­ße. Many peop­le, who hear my sto­ry see it as a hap­py ending or they try to roman­ti­ci­ze what hap­pen­ed to me. But I did­n’t choo­se this life. I had to be strong and look after mys­elf sin­ce I was a child. May­be that made me stron­ger, but at what pri­ce? Now when I see all the hap­py moms in Gos­ten­hof drin­king their cap­puc­ci­no in the sun, I am on the one hand hap­py, that this is pos­si­ble for more peop­le now but on the other hand, I pity that time lets peop­le for­get how hard it was to grow up here.”

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“Peop­le are final­ly star­ting to rea­li­ze that not every tat­too­ed per­son ine­vi­ta­b­ly went to pri­son or was a sailor. I’m hea­vi­ly tat­too­ed, pier­ced, I’m a sin­ger in a metal band and I’m also into mar­ti­al arts. What sur­pri­ses most peop­le when they get to know me is that I’d rather spend time cuddling my cats than rob­bing a gas sta­ti­on. Pre­ju­di­ces make me sick, but you can never com­ple­te­ly avo­id them – for examp­le, when I tell peop­le about my job. I’ve worked in the games indus­try for qui­te a long time now. Befo­re beco­m­ing the pro­gram direc­tor for one of Europe’s big­gest game deve­lo­per con­fe­ren­ces, I was the edi­tor-in-chief for a B2B maga­zi­ne. Gaming has always been my pas­si­on, sin­ce I was a kid. And while it is one of the big­gest indus­tries world­wi­de, games for many peop­le are still seen as a glo­ri­fi­ca­ti­on of vio­lence or sim­ply chil­dish. Howe­ver, they can be so much more! Games can help you deve­lop soci­al­ly cri­ti­cal and tac­ti­cal thin­king. They are high­ly immer­si­ve, many are serious pie­ces of art, and they more than often trig­ger a broad varie­ty of emo­ti­ons. An exci­ting game makes me laugh, cry, or shud­der more inten­se­ly than many movies do. When I play, I’m not just con­suming. I’m pro-actively diving into vir­tu­al worlds, explo­ring unchar­ted ter­ri­to­ries and mys­te­rious loca­ti­ons. I sol­ve ridd­les, I over­co­me nume­rous chal­len­ges and some­ti­mes I even have to face serious moral dilem­mas: Could I sur­vi­ve in a war sce­n­a­rio? With only one rati­on left, who gets to eat, and who doesn’t? Movies don’t force you to make tho­se decisi­ons – games do, and it can feel pret­ty devas­ta­ting, even though it’s just a fic­tio­n­al sce­n­a­rio. Cer­tain­ly not every game is meant for every per­son of every age, but neit­her are movies or books. Par­ents and adults should take more inte­rest when it comes to con­tent ins­tead of lea­ving that respon­si­bi­li­ty to other aut­ho­ri­ties – it’s that type of igno­ran­ce that real­ly makes me crin­ge. Besi­des, games are not just for teen­agers and kids any­mo­re. Who knows, may­be some par­ents will even find a game that they love to play!”

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“Sin­ce moving to the north of Nur­em­berg a few years ago, the St. Johan­nis­fried­hof has fasci­na­ted me, not only as a place of mour­ning, but also as a place of aes­the­tics and cul­tu­re. The ques­ti­on of how we deal with death and our ances­tors is, for me, a very important aspect of our cul­tu­re and iden­ti­ty. It is cer­tain­ly unusu­al for me to deal with death so inten­se­ly at the age of 35. With the Nur­em­berg Epi­ta­phia Foun­da­ti­on, I am com­mit­ted to the pre­ser­va­ti­on and care of this uni­que place whe­re peop­le like Dürer, Feu­er­bach and Pirck­hei­mer were buried. Of cour­se, as a his­to­ri­an, I ask mys­elf in par­ti­cu­lar: what have the­se important per­so­na­li­ties con­tri­bu­t­ed to the city that makes Nur­em­berg what it is today? What else can this place tell us? In addi­ti­on to death and sad­ness, the­re is also so much joy and posi­ti­vi­ty here. The­re are bap­tisms and wed­dings in the church, and I also mar­ried my hus­band here. With lay­ing tomb­stones, the orna­te epi­taphs, the care­ful­ly cul­ti­va­ted flower bowls and bloo­m­ing roses, the St. Johan­nis gra­vey­ard is sim­ply a beau­ti­ful place. In Nur­em­berg you are typi­cal­ly very modest, does not bother a lot about the spe­cial fea­tures of this city. Other cities would boast about such an extra­or­di­na­ry place. I think that the Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re is a gre­at oppor­tu­ni­ty to show all peop­le of Nur­em­berg as well as visi­tors, what is gre­at here and what makes us uni­que. From our past, we can also crea­te some­thing new that we have never dar­ed to do. At my age, it’s chic to stri­ve for moder­ni­ty. Often, howe­ver, things that initi­al­ly seem out­da­ted and old are not so old-fashio­ned and have gre­at signi­fi­can­ce for the pre­sent and the future. ”

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