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  Storytelling in Pankow: Stories that Weld Together – Districts – Berlin | Bit Updates
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Storytelling in Pankow: Stories that Weld Together – Districts – Berlin

Monday, November 20th, 2017 | bitcoin updates


The circle of chairs in the middle of the shopping center attracts attention. Twelve women and men sit together in conversation. Only a few meters from the sales outlets of a lingerie business. Passers-by stop and read what's going on on a display. Some sit down afterwards on one of the still free chairs in the circle. Katrin Rohnstock, armed with a small recording device, greets everyone with a happy smile and encourages him or her to tell a story from his or her life in Prenzlauer Berg. Eva Schröder dares to be one of the first. The 90-year-old speaks of her old apartment in Prenzlauer Allee, which she loved so much: "74 square meters with balcony for 60 marks and seven pennies." After the reunification, however, Eva Schröder experienced what is currently haunting many in Prenzlauer Berg. Your house was "rented". Specifically, this meant that the old tenants should be expelled because the owner wanted to beat more profit out of the house. "Once I came back from my garden at the weekend and wanted to quickly water the flowers on the balcony, but I stepped into the void," reports Eva Schröder. The balcony was simply gone. Another time, the steward had access to her bedroom and then accused her of depriving her of the apartment because she had found dust under the bed. "The lousy tricks of the stewards, I know them all," says the elderly woman. For six years she resisted, but in the end she had to give way.

Many in the round nod during the short lecture. Some have obviously experienced something similar. Katrin Rohnstock asks if anyone wants to tie in with the story. Because that is the meaning of the event, which calls itself narrative salon. Here are people to speak, which are otherwise not the focus. Everyone tells a personal experience from their everyday life. "Nothing invented or inflated, but experience itself," says Katrin Rohnstock, who runs a small business for order biographies and company chronicles in Prenzlauer Berg. For 15 years, she has also been organizing narration salons. The format goes back to a Jewish tradition. "The participants tell their stories and use them to convey their experiences and potential," explains Rohnstock. This is intended to create fellowship, but also to provide an outlet for those who feel left alone with their problems. The so-called suspended so. Katrin Rohnstock has been managing narrative salons for 15 years. Newspaper seller Olav Forner has been there several times. Photo: promo

Mostly narration salons take place in protected rooms, in a hotel, in the nursing home or hospital. The afternoon in the Schönhauser Allee-Arcaden is a premiere. "It's the first public address room in public space," explains the organizer. A topic is not specified. Everyone is allowed to speak about what he wants. The newspaper seller talks about his experiences in Prenzlauer Nachtleben as well as the young woman from Armenia, who reports on a touching chance meeting with three Afghan siblings and their widowed father in a playground. Klaus Lemmnitz, on the other hand, has experienced breaks in his life that mark the breaks in his neighborhood. When he lost his job in industry after the fall of the Wall, he had to start all over again – with condom machines, which he set up in pubs. And with a warehouse in a former brewery on Saarbrücker Straße. Other tradesmen and artists also settled down. At some point, they decided to start a cooperative together to prevent the old brewery site from falling into the hands of speculators. "And I was suddenly cooperative chairman," says the 71-year-old smirking. The plan worked out: "We are still there and are now considered a model for alternative economies." Starting point for new initiatives Success stories like these are the exception in the narrative salon. But even small stories can make a difference. "Through narrative processes one overcomes the collective paralysis and gains courage for new things," said Gabriela Christmann, deputy director of the Leibniz Institute for Spatial Social Research (IRS), in September at a specialist seminar. Christmann has scientifically supported the largest narrative project of Katrin Rohnstock so far. In Lusatia, with the support of the Federal Commissioner for the New Länder, Iris Gleicke, a total of 42 salons with 500 participants were offered in five locations in 2015 and 2016. From Christmann's point of view, they were an important starting point for new initiatives in the region.

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