An Immigrant Tells His Story: The Daily Racism of Life in an East German Town
Alberto lived through the Portuguese colonial era in Mozambique and emigrated to communist East Germany when he was 18. In the early 1980s, he worked as a butcher in East Berlin and spent his free time boxing. His love of the sport led him to move to the northeastern town of Schwedt, near the border with Poland, and he boxed more than 100 times for the town. He was so good that he made the national first division. “I was in the newspaper every week,” he recalls.
After his boxing career ended, Alberto took a course in social work and volunteered, helping out people in the community. Then the Berlin Wall fell and in the economic upheaval that followed, more than one-third of Schwedt’s population moved away. Unemployment rose to 15 percent. As the years passed, a generation grew that knew little about life in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and they didn’t know Ibraimo Alberto. “In the 1990s, the mood against foreigners worsened,” he says today.
But he stayed in Schwedt and ended up spending 21 years there, until it became too much and he fled, for the first time in his life. Alberto, the only black person in Schwedt, who was appointed as the town’s immigrant representative, fled the racism of his fellow citizens. “Running away,” he says today, “was the best decision of my life.” (via SPIEGEL ONLINE)