[i] Today is the 19.12.2018 We are at home at [name]. I would like to do a short interview with her. Dear [name], you take your time for me today, thank you so much for allowing me to do the interview. I would love to be my companion. When you arrived here, you had a memento with you. Let’s start with the memento.

[i] Let’s start.

[r] Hold the picture in the camera.

[i] Yes.

[r] And tell us about it.

[i] These are my children. I came to Germany in 1994. And I brought the picture with me, because both of them are very important to me. I have two children, both are very valuable. I came illegally to Germany. I hid them with me and came to Germany. My application for asylum was not recognised immediately. I was sent to homes. I stayed in the home for four years. My life in the home does not simply waste away. I had nowhere to go.

[i] Tell us about the picture.

[r] To the other things we still come. Tell of the picture There is still another picture. How old were your children, tell us about your children. My children were 9 and 10 years old.

[i] Why did you leave them behind?

[r] I left them in Turkey. Because I experienced a lot in Turkey I was forced to leave her there. I went and came here.

[i] There is another picture that is important for you.

[r] Yes, that’s the picture of my brother and his wife.

[i] Where is your brother?

[r] My brother is in Hatay now. He lives in Hatay. He has grown older like us. Under the picture is another photo.

[i] It is from the other brother. He sent me a greeting card. I added this one to it. It’s from my other brother. I cut it out and because I love her very much. I cut out his greeting card and added it.

[r] That’s nice.

[i] Yes.

[r] There’s another photo album.

[i] Yes, it is.

[r] You have pictures from your youth.

[i] Here are my photos from my youth, memories of that time. Here I was new in Germany. I was crying, it was the anniversary of my father’s death.

[r] What year was that? It was 1994.

[i] This picture was taken in Bochum?

[i] Yes, yes, in Bochum Stiepel. There is also my daughter. My daughter, the one in the middle is my daughter. This is all my family. Please forgive me.

Can you please take it on your lap so that we can see it?

Young we have come, now we are old, soon we are gone. We’ve grown old. That’s me in the village. This picture Mustafa, I was very young and had two children. Maybe you can’t recognize me here. The one in the middle is me. My son and my daughter are also on it, on the hands of friends. This is my uncle (on my father’s side) God have mercy on him, he has died. That’s how it is. nterwise we have experienced a lot. (Blazes around)

[r] 1994 until you came to Germany. Tell me, in which city in Germany did you arrive?

[i] Ee, I arrived in Wuppertal. I applied for asylum in Dortmund. I lived in the camp for 4 to 5 months. I was expelled from the camp to Bochum.

[r] In which part?

[i] To Stiepel. There was a very large home there. Maybe 1000 people lived there. There we lived on.

How many were you?

[i] Me, we were 4 friends. Each from a different country. You can’t speak the language, you know nothing. You just live there. With instructions, instructions you live.

You were four in a room?

Yes, four of us were in the home. Yes, four friends in a home, I mean we lived in a room.

And everyone was from a different country?

[i] Yes. One was from Afghanistan, one, no two were from Iran. And I am Kurdish. Kurdish from Turkey. We were four in one room.

[r] How long were you there?

[i] I’ve been there for four years. Life at home was not a pleasant life.

What did you do there, for example, tell me about your everyday life?

[i] We couldn’t do anything, what should we have done? We couldn’t speak the language or do anything else. eeh A teacher came for two hours a week. He was supposed to teach us German. Looked like a plute stupid, looked at us the pictures. It has been like this, what should one do, besides sit. Sometimes, there was an old little TV. Someone had left it there. I looked at it and it looked at me. I looked at the pictures. What could we do. More than thirty KM we were not allowed out. It was forbidden. More than thirty KM you may not go out. I couldn’t go any further than to eat. It was forbidden. We were questioned. Why were you there, who do you have there? Germany is a very good country in itself. But from our perspective it was not so good, it narrowed us down very much. It was not as easy as Germans say. Getting that far wasn’t easy. We have experienced many hurdles.

Do you have relatives here? I had no one here, not even a bird. I came here all alone.

Why did you choose Germany?

[i] Why did I choose Germany? It was called Germany is a democratic country. So we came here. It was depressing, we couldn’t go anywhere for four years. We were not allowed to go any further than 30 KM. Again we experienced prohibitions. There was freedom, it was said, but with regard to us there was no freedom. Until we got these rights, we experienced many difficulties.

Did you stay there for four years?

[i] Four years.

Why four years?

Four years because I didn’t have a residence permit. I did not have a residence permit. We only ever received a residence permit for half a year. That’s why we stayed there, were forced to stay there.

Without a residence permit you were not allowed to leave?

Sure, you’re not allowed into an apartment. I lived with four women for four years.

Were you with the same women the whole time?

Eeh, they were always the same women. Two or three years later, one went away. One got married. Two of us were left. In the home.

How was life in the home, with the other residents?

[i] I got along with everyone, I can adapt. You have to try not to adapt. If you don’t adapt, you’ll get worse.

After four years, have you received a residence permit?

Yes, after four years I got a residence permit.

[r] Then you left the home?

I left the home, my children came to me.

Where did you take an apartment?

I rented an apartment in Bochum, Bochum Hamme.

How many years later did you see your children?

[i] After two years I could actually bring my children to me. After four years I was able to get her father. [r] Did you take her?

[i] Yes, of course, because the children were small, I was allowed to take them to myself automatically. Yes, that’s how it was then.

Wasn’t it difficult? Two children with two strange women? What was it like?

[i] Sorry, when my children came, they took two women out. One remain with us. Until place was found for them. After they had wage a cognition and she was appropriated out. She went, I stayed with my children.

After how many years could you bring your husband to you?

[i] After 4 years.

After 4 years? Was your husband allowed to you too?

[i] He was not allowed to come to us immediately, he first had to apply for asylum in Dortmund. He was assigned to a camp. He was then assigned to me.

[r] You want to be in Bochum.

Right, you can say I am a Bochum woman. They were your first impressions in Bochum. Actually it was good everywhere, but I didn’t know anybody, it was all strange. You don’t know anything, you don’t know anything. You look at pictures of trees. Look at pictures on television. Everything was the same for me. After a while you get used to it. We also got used to Bochum. Even if you can’t speak the language, my hearing got used to it. Bochum was good for me. Since I am here, I live in Bochum.

[r] You say that you have been living in Bochum ever since, feeling like a Bochum woman? Bochum is for me, it is my second country  [laughs] . Because no matter in which city in Germany I am, I would always choose Bochum. For me it is the most beautiful city. Because, here I woke up. What hurdles did you experience in Bochum? I have lived through many hurdles. When I received a letter, I searched the streets for a translator. To learn the content. What does it say, I asked myself. Whether our application was rejected, whether the application was approved? Whether we had to leave or were allowed to stay? I have often experienced this kind of difficulty. We were allowed to settle down, I experienced many difficulties. You have no one. It was not easy. I speak for myself, it may have been easier for others.

What do you like most about Bochum?

What did I particularly like about Bochum? Everything. Bochum is my second home. I know my neighbours, the people. And the people of Bochum are good people. I love Bochum.

You say Bochum is your second home. You could say your children grew up here. How old were you when they arrived here?

My daughter was twelve, my son nine.

[r] How were they here? I registered them on the shoes. I took them to school in the morning. I enrolled them in courses. At that time there were free courses. Two hours here, two hours there, then to school. They learned German very quickly.

Children learn fast.

[i] Yes, I have taken great care of my children. My children were educated. They have learned a profession. We had a hard time, but in the end my children are doing well. They work, they’re fine.

Where do your children live?

Both are in Bochum one in Gerthe. The other one lives in Wattenscheid. My children are doing well and I live between them. I’ll go here sometime.

Do they work, are they married? Both are married. My daughter has two sons. My son has one son. We have a Deniz, he is one year old. My daughter has two children, I have three grandchildren. We have grown old, young we have come old we go (laughs).

Tell us about your husband. After four years he followed.

[i] After four years he came. I rented the apartment. I got my driver’s license.

Did you or your husband get my driver’s license?

[i] I got my driver’s license. I started working in the hospital. Worked and saved some money, opened a store. Worked parallel in the store.

What kind of shop was that?

[i] A snack bar.

Where did you open it?

[i] In Bochum Alleestr. We worked together, I had two employees. After 15 years I got sick. I had heart surgery, the heart valve was replaced. I had to close the store. There were family tensions. My husband took an apartment. Without my knowledge. I am with my children. There are no problems, I don’t make any problems.

You are separated from your husband?

[i] We are not divorced, we live apart.

Since when?

[i] How long do you ask? Three years. Not so long, 3 years.

[r] How is the dialogue between them?

When it comes to topics concerning my children, of course I call him. He calls me too. We didn’t have any big problems. But sometimes… There were little things, but the children didn’t agree either.

You used to work.

[i] Me? Now you’re sick, can’t work.

[i] Yes, I’ve worked a lot, because of the illness I can’t work anymore.

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time with my grandchildren. I spend two hours with one, two hours with the other. It makes me tired. Then I rest at home. I go out, visit friends. I have a book, try to learn German. I hardly watch television. Television is not attractive for me. But sometimes I already watch television. I get along with everyone. I don’t have such problems, so I spend my days.

Do you take part in cultural events? [i] Sometimes I go to demos or meetings with friends. Listen. Sometimes I go to the Alevi club. That’s how I spend my days.

You mentioned that you are Kurdish your language is Kurdish. Which music, which dances, which clothes do you like?

[i] I don’t like dancing, but as an Alevi I like Turkish folk songs. As a Kurdish Alevitin, I dress up virtuously. Is that what they say? I don’t have anything else.

You say you are in contact with many people in Bochum. If you compare the people in Bochum with where you vote, what differences do you notice? They are more cordial. When you ask someone something in Bochum, regardless of whether it’s a German, Turk or Kurd. For us there is no difference. You get an answer. Elsewhere they turn around and leave. That’s why I find the people here more cordial. The people of Bochum. That’s how I feel. Maybe only I feel that way. [R} How do Bochum people react to you? Do you feel accepted or do you feel like a foreigner?

Of course I am a foreigner. But I don’t feel excluded. We have to adapt to their culture. We can’t build a culture here according to our own ideas. Because we adapt, we are liked. We obey the laws.

Good. You told me about the problems in the home that it was difficult. Then you moved into an apartment.

[i] Yes.

Was it easy to find a place to live?

[i] I’ve been looking for an apartment for a year, it wasn’t. After a year I found the apartment, we moved. The school was nearby. That was pleasant. The children had the way to school easier. I started working in the hospital. It became easier for me, the home was so secluded. Here in my own apartment I had it easier. The children got their own rooms. I had a couch. A place to sit a table. We didn’t always live like this, with a table, with a sofa. Actually I don’t really laugh about it, even if I laugh.

What about the neighbours?

[i] I like my neighbours, get along with everyone.

[r] What about the neighbors?

[i] I like my neighbours, get along with everyone.

[r] We were your neighbours?

[i] My neighbours were always German. There were 15 apartments in the house. All the neighbours were German. No Turks, no Kurds. I lived there for 22 years, I can adapt very well. There were never any complaints about us. We didn’t complain either, that’s how we lived. From work to home, from home to work? Of course I got up at 4 o’clock in the morning. I prepared breakfast for my children, packed their bags. At 7 o’clock I said goodbye to them. Then I went to work. There was no lazing around. As a young girl you can come here. I arrived very young.

[r] You were so young, how did it come to the decision to come here?

I had to make that decision. Because I didn’t get along there anymore. Without doing anything, I was called a terrorist. That I would hand out info sheets. They accused me of associating with subversives. I would take part in demonstrations and meetings. I was detained for three days on remand.

In which city did you live?

[i] I lived in Mersin.

[r] In Mersin. In what year?

[i] 1993.

[r] 1993.

[i] Yes.

[i] I was remanded in custody. Two, three days. Then I was released. I got scared. At night they stormed my apartment. At night they stormed my apartment! With two children it frightened me a lot. Then I decided: I have to go abroad. But I didn’t know which country to go to. But the decision was made.

How did your family take it?

I didn’t tell my parents so they wouldn’t be sad that I was leaving Turkey. Of course they were sad afterwards. A young woman, 32 years old… She’s gone, in which country is she? She has no one there… Neither in Germany nor in France do we have any relatives. None of us were abroad. Neither from the family, nor in the clan.

Where did your parents live?

[i] In Hatay.

[r] They lived in Hatay?

[i] Yes.

[r] What did your husband say?

When I made the decision, nobody could tell me anything. Because I don’t do anything useless. He didn’t question it. I can’t deny that. He didn’t stop me, I said, I’m going. And I came. I entered by illegal means. The way was very difficult. I had it very hard, but I made it.

The separation… What difficulties did you experience during the separation? As a woman with two children.

[i] Mustafa, please don’t ask me about it, it was very bad (laughs embarrassedly). That was very bad.

Sure, it’s been 25, 26 years. It’s certainly hard, but

[i] Only my daughter said something when we broke up. She’s older, she felt it. She looked at me, just said “mama”, nothing else. I gave my son a 5 or 10 scnein in his hand. Distracted him with money. He was happy and went outside. I’m going to spend my money, he said. Then I left. Don’t remind me of the time. They were small. Her grandmother, God have mercy on her soul, took care of her and took care of her. She washed her, took her to school. She took care of her. My mother-in-law took care of her. God protect her. No matter what, she took care of her. She took care of my children for two to three years. This is what they looked like when I came. They are children! Very small children.

That’s right. After you were here, did you talk to them on the phone? Until you knew where the phone booths were, how do you call, how do you pay, with a card, with money? How to call. I learned that. I went to the station. Into certain streets. There were many telephone booths. So I could talk to my children. Believe me, I saved on food and drink and put everything into calls. Have you arrived, are you in school? Where are you? Are you on time? Are you up? I spent everything on it. I spent every cent on it. I spent it on the phone. Our lives were not easy. Our life was hard. Tell us about your youth, where were you born? I was born in Elbistan, Kahraman >maras. I lived there for about 5 to 6 years. Later my parents emigrated to Hatay. Then they returned to Elbistan, Maras. As you know, we Alevis, Alevi Kurds emigrate. We can’t settle anywhere. This is how our life is built, this is how we continue to live. Later, we lived in our village. There, we got married, grew up.

How old were you when you got married?

[i] I was very young, Mustafa.

[i] I was 16 years old. 16 years old. At that time we girls were not asked. From which xy the son shehr well out, is well… it was said. Because they were relatives, we were “given” without our consent. Whether you saw him or not, you were forgiven. It was like that then. Our life was not particularly beautiful. We did not experience anything in our youth. My youth I have with With efforts it is true. Age was just as difficult.

Where did you work?

[i] In Turkey?

[r] Yes.

In summer my father and sister picked tree fillings. In spring we went to work. In autumn we picked cotton. We always worked. We sowed in our village. We picked the seed. We had one, two trees. We cared for them. We had a garden. Our life was like this. We did not have an easy life.

Did you go to school?

In the village I went to #school for 5 years.

After primary school?

[i] It was a luxury to go to primary school. Not everyone could go to school. In the whole village only two girls went to school. My mother didn’t want me to go to school. She beat me to death so I wouldn’t go to school. She cut my hair so I wouldn’t go. Nevertheless, I left.

Why didn’t she want you to go?

[i] She says don’t go. Girls don’t go to school, look, no other girl goes to school. That’s what she said back then. My younger sister didn’t go to school. She wasn’t allowed to. Let me put it this way: I wasn’t naughty, but I was a bit stubborn. Seie hit me, I bought the blows and still went to school. I said: I go. Today I say to myself, good that I asserted myself. At least I could read. At least you know what it’s about. Good that I left. Even if I didn’t learn in my language, I could read. Even if it was Turkish, I could read. And understand something. And we are grateful for that.

When did you emigrate to Mersin?

I came to Mersin in 1989.

[r] When were you married? [)] Yes, and I had two children. [r] Why Mersin? I married in the village, as I said before. The revolutionaries came to the village. We helped them, not just us. They almost arrested us. That’s why we went to Mersin. Mersin is a big city. No one knew anyone.

What difficulties did you experience in Mersin? Everything was strange, you didn’t know anybody.

[i] Yes, how did we do it there? We rented a house. My husband was unemployed. We had two children, my husband looked after the children. I went to work. I did housework. He took care of the children. Didn’t he have a job?

[i] He didn’t have a job. He had no job and he liked laziness. It was more conscious for him. He liked it. He preferred to be at home. I was both caring for my children and working and earning money. I was like that. There is nothing you can do. That’s life.

How did the fact that the mother worked affect the children? The father takes care of the children.

[i] The rule is like this, the mother guards, the father works.

That’s right.

With me it was the other way round. The father stayed at home and looked after the children, I went to work.

How did the children take it?

[i] What could the children do. They were already taller. He made them tomatoes and put them in front of them. They did their homework. He went to sleep. He couldn’t do much at home. What should he do? I ask you. In the evening I went to work. I took my wages, I did my shopping. And came home and looked after my children. That’s life.

Beautiful. Back then, when you came here, there were hardly any Kurds. But if you look at Bochum now: there are many Kurds, Turks.

[i] So it is.

Do you come into contact with them?

[i] Sure. In the beginning there weren’t so many Turks or Kurds. If there were, I didn’t know them. I was self-employed for 15 years. I have a large circle of acquaintances. I know almost everyone. Now it is different. I have linguistic difficulties, but I have no other difficulties. I can do my own things. I can go to the doctor. At that time we could not do that.

What does it mean for you to get together with your people today? Is there a difference? Are you telling yourself that I have to be in contact with my people once a week, once a month? Do you have such an urge?

I don’t feel a compulsion, but of course I go to events, to demos in between.

[r] There are weddings…

[i] I go to weddings, to condolences. I visit friends. I don’t sit around sadly at home. Just because I had it hard, I don’t sit around sadly at home. I can’t do that. I am a fighter. That’s how it is. If I don’t find anything else, I go for a walk with my children. Bring them to play in the park. Then I am tired, come home to sleep. I don’t sit around at home. I have many surroundings. To sit, anywhere I can go. I don’t distinguish between Kurds, Turks, Arabs. No matter who, I talk to everyone.

What dreams did you have in your youth?

As a teenager I had beautiful dreams (smiles). Unfortunately, I couldn’t realize my dreams. When I think I didn’t get anything done, I realize I did something. Of course I had beautiful dreams. Of course I wanted my dreams to come true, to grow old with my husband. My dreams, I wanted to raise children together with this person, to have grandchildren. Do something together. As a young girl I had such dreams. To have a driving licence, to have a car…

You have a driver’s license and a car.

Yes, that’s what I fought for. Nobody made it possible for me to help. I have worked. Saved and got my driver’s license. I continued to work and bought my car. After the home I rented the apartment. After renting and setting up, I opened the snack bar. I ran the snack bar for 15 years. It was not easy. To come here so far.

We can say that you were able to fulfill some of your dreams.

[i] I was able to realize part of it. But a part is left. And that remains unfulfilled (laughs).

[r] You are still young! You keep saying that you are old. But you are still young. For the future you can still dream…

[i] No Mustafa, from now on I wish myself health for the future. At least be healthy, spend time with my children. To help them. They should go to work. They should have a nice life. What can you do from now on? I don’t think you can do much from now on. What we invest in our children is our merit. We cannot do anything else. I will not be happier, even if one would give me a plane. When I was young, I needed it, not anymore. That was my dear friend.

How did the marriage of your daughter come about? Who did she marry?

[i] Merine’s daughter married someone from our village. She has two children. She decided for herself. She made the choice.

It chose itself.

Sure, if I had made the choice, it would have been wrong. She’s the one who married, so she had to decide. Both my daughter and my son! My children were allowed to decide for themselves.

You lived almost 30 years in Kurdistan (Turkey). You have been living in Germany for 25 years. When I ask you about home? What is home for you? How do you answer the question? When you say homeland: “Of course I think of the longing for my homeland. I miss my homeland. Of course I also like it here, my children are here. Of course you love, you miss your home more.

Is there anyone else there?

My whole family, my siblings, my mother, my late father All my family except one brother is there. Everyone is in Turkey. We are one big family.

How many brothers and sisters are you?

[i] We are 10 brothers and sisters.

How many girls, boys?

[i] We are four girls and 6 boys.

[r] Two are here and all the others are in Kurdistan?

[i] Me and a brother are here, everyone else is in Kurdistan.

Do you see each other?

[i] Yes, of course. They are my life. Every day I see them. Of course we see each other. My mother, my brothers and sisters. I see them.

[r] Can you go to them?

I used to go three or four times, now once a year. My financial situation has changed, now I go there once a year. For two to three weeks.

Is it difficult for you to say goodbye?

Of course it’s hard to say goodbye, what a question (smiles). You leave your family, a part of you you leave behind. It is a part of you. Brothers and sisters are a part of yourself. Your mother gave birth to you. You leave her there and go. Until I get to the plane, even in the plane my eyes are turned back. And I am the oldest. That is why I have a feeling with them as if they were my brothers and sisters. For me, they are as small as they were then. We are good siblings, have respect for each other. love each other, listen to each other. When I left them all, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, came to another country… I missed them very much.

Have you ever thought about going back there again.

I can’t decide, here are my children. My grandchildren are here. When I go there, I leave a part here. If I stay here, I miss them. I can’t make up my mind. The decision is to fly back and forth. As long as we are healthy, we will fly back and forth. No one can know what will happen later.

There was no language course at the home, you said. A teacher came for two hours.

[i] For two hours.

What was it like after you had a residence permit? Did you attend a course after that?

[i] I attended a course for six months. In the six months I was unable to record anything. I knew nothing. If I had had as much knowledge as I have today, I might have learned something. At that time I was only present. Yes, that’s how it was.

[r] Can you say that German was too difficult? Or couldn’t you understand it? Did you have too much worries?

[i] I had worries. Of course German is also difficult. It’s not an easy language. It is a difficult language. Even with Turkish I have my problems as a Kurd. And then you come here and learn German, German is a very difficult language. In our country we have at least learned Turkish. As Kurds, with Kurdish mother tongue, we learned Turkish. But no Turk has learned a word of Kurdish. They can’t do it. We have learned it. So we are smart. But I didn’t make it here. It is a difficult language. And there were no role models.

[r] You told me about correspondence. As we know, Germany is a country with a lot of bureaucracy. A country with a lot of bureaucracy: How was that for you?

[i] It was hard. The first time was very, very hard. When I got a letter, I searched all the streets for help. So I explored the whole city. Looking for someone with black hair, man or woman. When I found someone, I asked: Are you Turkish, Kurd? Can you help me? Have shown the writing, asked by whom it is. What does it say? But, now it’s not so hard anymore. Now I go to the club. I have friends. Which I can call and ask. If they have time and can look at my letter. Or I suggest to go there. So that it will be done. I can do many things myself. With the tax office, employment office. I can do that myself, even if I can’t speak well. I take care of it. But then it was difficult. In the beginning, it was very, very difficult. I was on the Kortumstr. here in Bochum. Had received two letters from the district court. With the letter in my hand, I was looking for someone to explain it to me and cry. I didn’t know anyone. Talked to someone with black hair. Asked: Are you a Turk? Kurd? He spoke Arabic. An Arab, he spoke Arabic. Or a language. Oh man, he’s no Turk either, Kurd (laughs). We are like from a film (laughs). If I made a film, it would exceed a film. Not everyone with black hair can be a Turk or a Kurd. I looked for the solution in black resinous ones. A Juger man once said to my question: No. I asked: are you Kurd? He denied it in Turkish. I said: but you speak Turkish soch. He replied: I am Alevite. I said: but you do have a language as Alevite? Are you Turk or Kurd? You see. You are Kurd. He then said: I am Alevite. (laughs) Oh what the hell.

Didn’t you say that you are Alevitin too? I said: See, I am Alevitin too. I speak both Turkish and Kurdish. But you have a language. That was on the train, I’ll never forget that. At that time I had no car, took the train to work. There is a lot to laugh about, also a lot to cry about.

Did you visit German cultural events in Bochum? Theatres, museums?

I visited museums.

[r] Which one?

[i] This here in Bochum. I visited the museum in Essen.

[r] The mining museum?

[i] Yes.

What did you think?

[i] It was beautiful. It gave me pleasure. I like that. I like looking at something more than just walking around. Learning something. I’ve been to the theater a couple of times. I like something like that. I even went to German funerals.

If you look at Bochum now: there are many foreigners in Bochum.

[i] A lot.

[r] If you compare?

[i] Yes, of course…

[r] Please compare 1994, 1995 and 2018.

Now it’s like in my village. In my village we didn’t have a hard time. There were: Ayse, Fatma, Hüseyin. It is the same here. I call: Mustafa, I am ill, I need help… Send someone to me, I can ask like in my village. Back then we couldn’t even call the ambulance. You suffered, couldn’t even call the ambulance. It was hard. I had it very hard in Germany.

[r] You’re saying I’ve settled here now? How do you feel about it?

[i] Sometimes I tell myself that I was very lucky. It’s a good thing I was assigned to Bochum. I worked here, got my residence permit, met good people I get along with here. My children have a school-leaving certificate, a job. What can I say: I like it here. {[r] Is there something you don’t like in Bochum?

[i] No, there is nothing I don’t like.

[r] A district, a street?

[i] I see it this way: if you are good, it will go well. Then all people are good.

[r] Which part of Bochum do you like the most? You have to answer this question for me. For example a street, a district.

For me Bochum Hamme is very beautiful. I moved out, but I couldn’t leave Hamme. I even found an apartment, but couldn’t leave. Until I found this apartment in Hamme. So I like Bochum Hamme the most. I like the whole city.

[r] Why?

[i] (Laughs)

Because there are so many foreigners here? The neighbours are Kurds. I don’t really distinguish between Turks, Kurds. I have an environment here, so I like it here. Here I have neighbours and more. I have been living in Bochum Hamme for 25 years. I couldn’t go anywhere else. I couldn’t even go to another street, although I had found an apartment. I did not go.

Where does your brother live?

Since when does he live in Hamme?

[i] Since 2002. No, it was 2003.

He has also been in Germany for 15 years.

[i] I brought him here. He has separated from his wife. He separated in Turkey. I brought him here.

What is he doing?

[i] He bakes bread in a snack bar.

What are your plans for the future? You call yourself old. You may feel old, but you are still young.

[i] I am not young.

Let’s put it this way: Where do you see yourself in 15 years?

[i] I want to see myself in my country. Live in peace in my country. But neither there, nor here it goes. I am in between. There is no decision. I am a person who cannot decide. No, actually I can make decisions. The children, on the other Séite my family. My children on this side, you decide for your children. You prefer your child. In 15 years I will be an old grandmother, maybe already dead. You never know. God should not put anyone in such a situation. The world is like this. Stay that way.

When you look back 25 years? Do you think about it, if you had come to Germany in 2018, would you have had it easier? Back then Germany was really different.

Of course, it would have become easier. A beautiful life, a beautiful environment. Today it would be much easier. Back then it was very, very difficult. As I just said, we weren’t allowed to go any further than 30 km. If the police had caught us, we would have been punished. If only it were then as it is now. I had just arrived home. I was told there was a job somewhere. I went, we talked. The men were Turks. It was called I must clean. I could not speak German. I started, then I had to wash the dishes, wash the salad. Washing salad takes a long time. Washing takes three to four hours. The Labour Office raided me. I had no idea about the employment office. I was given a note that I was allowed to work for two hours. You are allowed to work two hours. I didn’t know what to do with the note. Whether I should hand it in somewhere. The boss said, no. You don’t have to give it anywhere. You put it in your folder was called it. As I stapled it into my folder. One day the employment office came. I was at the salad cut. There I was asked for my identity card. I wondered. Friends had arranged the work for me, why do they ask for an identity card? Who are they I wanted to know? It was said they are from the city, they are inspectors But why do they ask for my identity card I wanted to know. Only then did I find out that I had been working illegally. I stated that I had a contract. They took it. I thought I was allowed to work two hours. Turns out they just wrote a note. Signed. Without registration or anything. Everyone can be characterless, a Turk, a Kurd, an Arab… Anyone, including Germans. I was cheered on for a document. And I trust in it. And I was caught, had no idea of anything. Even up to the court the thing went. The little money they also blocked for me. I didn’t even have a lawyer, only a translator they got. I stated that I had no idea, that I had been told I could work two hours. So I worked. Now I don’t even get money from the social services. I don’t know what to do. The judge stood up and agreed with me. He said the others are guilty. If the woman is new here, ignorant and asks you where she should submit the documents. You gave her false information. I was acquitted. They got problems. I was left alone, the others got problems. I have an invalid document. Two hours my ass, I have to keep the contract in my pocket. I was confronted with something like that, I was accused, I was registered by the police.

Was there no one in the home who knew Kurdish or Turkish?

[i] There were some who could speak Kurdish, but no Turkish speakers.

[r] Working there?

[i] There was no one who knew Kurdish or Turkish among those responsible. If something was wrong, we gave a master a message. He called a translator. He helped us, there was no other translator. There was no one else. If you knew someone who spoke German, you would get him. There was no one. We didn’t have our own translator. We tried to express ourselves with our hands and feet. They were suffering us, we were suffering them. Really (laughs).

That’s how it is, you don’t understand each other without language. How to answer? Nothing could be done. What can you do? You have to endure it compulsively. That’s why when I was my children I sent them to every free course after school. So that they learn more. I tried very hard. I bought different books. There was a German family. I made contact with them. They often helped me with my homework. They did homework together. That’s why I put a lot of effort into my children. I worked, I was the money factory. What did your husband do?

[i] He was asleep. When I’m asked, I say his job is sleeping. People don’t understand, ask what?

There is a Russian novel. Do you know this novel?

[i] I haven’t read it.

[i] He was asleep. At home it was comfortable for him. It’s warm. You don’t have to leave an oven burning. The heating works. The food is there. Everything was great for him.

Is he still not working?

[i] No. He hasn’t worked an hour in his life. [R ] Does he live alone?

[i] Now yes. The state takes care of him.

That’s all right, otherwise he would knock on your door.

[i] (Laughs)

And you’d have to take care of him.

[i] In his life… Let’s leave it at that.

[r] Yes. What is identity for you?

[i] What kind of identity?

[r] You are an Alevitin, a Kurd, …

[i] I am proud to be an Alevitin. Also that I am a Kurdish I am proud. That I’m a revolutionary, better a leftist, I’m also proud. At least I see everyone as a human being, do not condemn anyone. Don’t judge anyone because he/she can’t work. He has no money. I share with everyone. First and foremost, my identity is to be human. What counts for me is goodness. I came here when I was 32 years old. As a very young person I came here. I could have gone astray. Could have done much wrong. I never gave up my convictions, always used my brain when I did something. I have always held myself to the left, to the Kurds, to the people. For a time I was empty, there was a newspaper that I distributed. At least I distributed a magazine, participated in demos. I always did something. According to my ideas. Never did anything bad. Because I came here when I was 32 years old, very young.

What do you think about integration?

[i] (Laughs) Let’s end it here. (laughs) My life is something… let’s end it here.

[r] Say something about integration. What do you understand by integration?

[i] What should I say? Honestly, Mustafa, I have nothing more to say. So, everyone should think nicely, should be able to share. What more can I say? Because I’m like that, I only know that.

[r] Friend [name], thank you very much.

[i] Not for that. Thank you so much for answering all the questions from the heart.

[i] Thank you.

[i] I thank you.

[r] You wanted to see your grandson.

[i] I cancelled Mr. Deniz today. Many Dak come for you. My house is always open to them. I expect you at any time. My door is always open for you.

[r] Thank you very much!