“Grandpa had brought this TV from Germany. I don’t know if we had ever used it before the war, except that we the children played with it. That’s why it doesn’t even have a cable. When the war started, we only watched it because
it could be powered by a car battery. Two wires and there you go.” Ado
“I left Bulgaria back in 2008 following my heart and love. I met a man on the Internet and for me the only right thing to do back then was to be with him. I left everything I had in Bulgaria – my home, friends, job – and both me and
my kid moved to the Netherlands. Our love fell apart a long time ago but I had already decided that my life will continue here and I did not wish to come back. I saw a possibility to fulfill my dream of having my own business
and doing my favorite thing – gardening. This is why I invested into this gardening scissors that I bought from a local website. For me, it became a symbol of my fulfilled dream”. Elitsa Krasteva
The last 100-pound Syrian money note of Khalil, a Syrian Kurdish from Afrin, refugee in Greece since 2016. Its value was about 1 euro when he left. It is now worth around 0.15 euros. He keeps it mainly as a memorabilia, but also
because he wants to continue to believe that at some point he will return to Syria.
The story of Khalil
From Turkey he passed to Kastelorizo and from there to Athens, Thessaloniki and Eidomeni. He arrived at Eidomeni when riots broke out due to border closure. Although he managed to cross the border with the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia twice, he was arrested twice and returned back to Greece. He was then taken to one of the camps in Thessaloniki and from there he went to Athens to apply for relocation. The decision announced to him was that he could be relocated to Bulgaria. He did not take this opportunity because he had already begun to develop relations in Greece. At the same time, Bulgaria did not offer better conditions or prospects. So, he applied for asylum in Greece. In the beginning, he stayed with another 400 people in an occupied area, a former school, at Acharnon Street. The conditions were very bad as most of them slept on the floor and shared 3 toilets. He then lived in a private room with four others. In Greece he found a job at the local branch of an international non-governmental organisation. Waiting for the answer about the visa, he decided to leave with a forged passport for Germany paying 3,000 euros. He left Chania for Pisa, Milan, Turin, Switzerland and then Germany. There they found that the passport was counterfeit. So, in order not to be arrested, he made an asylum application in the German region of Baden Bundenberg. He received a residence permit for a year. As he had applied for asylum in Greece, he could not obtain asylum in Germany and have the benefits of education and healthcare insurance. He could not stand the way of life in Germany, nor the fact that he was forced to live and socialise exclusively with Syrians. The treatment by most Germans was cold and distant. So he decided to return to Greece, where he lives and works today.
Taher bought this camera a bit before he started his journey from Iran to Europe. He went to Iran as a refugee from Afghanistan, when the Taliban came to power. He left alone, with very few belongings, among which was this camera. He was a passionate photographer and he wanted to document his journey. He reached Greece in 2001. Shortly after his arrival he received a red card – a temporary work permit – with which he could find a job go through medical examinations in order to get a proper residence permit, but the process was very slow. He received a residence permit in 2005. When he came to Iran to see his family, his wife Saldat refused to stay behind, so she came to Greece without papers.
“That morning they woke up and left in a hurry. They did not make the beds… They did not water the basils. Each one of them could bring along only what he/she loved… This mirror was for shaving, from the grandfather who came
from Vourla”. Stamatis Bakirtzis kept a shop in Vourla, that created and sold copper utensils (bakiria). After the Catastrophe of Asia Minor he arrived to Piraeus, where he worked in the port as a docker until he became a pensioner for shaving.” Narration of Tzanna Kalopita
The handiworks of Mrs Pinelopi show exceptional craft and skills and seem like they are made by a sewing machine.
With the Lausanne Treaty, the family of Penelope Papadopoulou, from Bodrum, was separated. A part of the family went to Leros and another part to Kos. The small distance to be covered and her relatively good financial conditions allowed her to carry a significant part of the household and her property. She spoke very warmly of the life in Turkey. It is characteristic that the house she built in Kos was identical to the one she was living in, in Bodrum. According to her granddaughter, Pepi, many among the “exchangeables” tended to idealise their life in Turkey.
“The tickets that I keep from all the “Rabotnicki” tournaments are special to me, because they remind me of happy moments, smiles and hope, stopped watches and happy steps, uncertainty, tension. The tournaments of Rabotnicki remind me of Skopje in which I grew up, where there are all those who mean to me the most, whose product is I and my whole generation.” Mladen
“An old craftsman tool for drilling holes in wood and ground, the only object that the Kesić family found in their demolished house in Kijan, Lika. “ Milorad
These old binding tools used to subdue the horses were the only thing Željko managed to preserve from the family house in Lika (Croatia).
The ceramic tank money-box belongs to the acclaimed Hungarian journalist Al Ghaoui Hesna, of Hungarian and Syrian origins. She tells the following story: “I received it from my sister when she was working in Algeria. This surreal souvenir was displayed in my living room and it always triggered exciting conversations with my guests: what makes craftsmen sell tank-shaped ceramics? What could be the living conditions in such places? These discussions about various countries and war zones made me realize that most of the people are unaware of the differences between being a migrant or refugee. This is definitely the result of recent politics that aims to blur the very important distinction between migrants and refugees.”