The children

On April 25th 2016 I was sitting in my living room in Hamburg thinking about the two celebrations that I was missing back in my hometown: my mother’s birthday and Liberation Day. I started remembering my father’s grandmother stories about World World II, how she would live in an occupied land with my by-then toddler grandmother, and that the only two words she ever learned were “Wasser” and “Kaputt”. She also used to tell us that as a young girl she served as a housemaid in the house of Guglielmo Marconi. I started thinking about when my other grandmother showed me a box full of photos that her relatives living in Africa in the 1920s would send to the family. I started thinking about how that same grandmother divorced in the 1970s, when it was barely legal in Italy to do so. I remembered my father’s stories about his childhood in a violent, working class neighbourhood, and how people he knew sometimes got shot in the streets. I remembered when a friend of mine told me how his parents met on August 2nd 1980, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack at the Central Train Station of Bologna. I remembered stopping in the middle of the Pub when the TV started showing the first images of the Tōhoku earthquake, holding empty beer glasses and wondering if my former Japanese flatmate was okay. I thought about how I felt when I was waiting for my friend in Paris to finally tell me she was safe, and how we had been to the Bataclan together when I visited her a couple of years before. As obvious as it is, it never occurred to me before that we do not simply witness the events, but they become part of our lives. That’s why I decided to explore these stories, to find out which pieces of history we are made of. 

 

Part I - Lella

Part II - Tessa

to be continued...