klaus antonius blanke - a german history

2013-2018, fine art inkjet print, varying formats

At the beginning of 2000 I met Antonius Blanke, the senior planning officer for the municipality of Tübingen, with whom I shared a long friendship. After 33 years in Tübingen, Antonius Blanke moved back to Berlin in 2010. In summer 2011 

I moved from Southern Germany to Berlin and we could meet and exchange ideas at regular intervals in Berlin. Among other things, we took trips through the city together, and so I gradually got to know them better. Antonius grew up in a strictly Catholic family on the outskirts of Berlin in the GDR and studied architecture before the Wall was built in the western part of the city. Since he had witnessed the transformation of Berlin after the collapse and during the first years of the Cold War, every trip through the city became for me a journey to the traces of this change. Within that time it turned out that Antonius had spent his first year not far from my apartment in Neukölln. Later he grew up in Ruhlsdorf, a small street village and part of the town of Teltow in the district of Potsdam-Mittelmark. In the course of his narratives I learned that he had experienced the Second World War as a child and that during the division of Germany he was socialized both in the East and in the West. My mother grew up with three other siblings in Mecklenburg and moved to the West to Hamburg before the Wall was built, where she completed her training as a nurse.

From my countless visits in my childhood I have a very real picture of the GDR as a state, so that Antonius' life story immediately fascinated me. A short time later we decided to photograph Antonius' biographical years, from his birth in 1938 in Berlin until his departure in 1969 to the surroundings of Hamburg. For this purpose we visited together the places of his childhood, youth and vocational training in and around Berlin.