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Being at Home Abroad

Immigrants

Beslan Bjutukajew, from Chechnya

Our village is 45 km away from Grosny. It used to have a population of 8,000. It was destroyed by Russian soldiers, there are maybe 4,000 people left. My father is retired, at the age of almost 70 he became disabled, a Russian soldier fired at him from a plane, and he lost his leg. The first war was not quite so terrible, but in this second war they didn’t make a difference between children, old people or civilians, they bomb and fire at everything and everybody. Everybody is scared.
I think of my homecountry too often and for too long, it is painful to think of home. I think of my parents, of my relatives. If the Russian soldiers leave tomorrow I’m going back the day after tomorrow.


Asima Imamović, from Bosnia

The most beautiful moment in my life was when the four of us crossed the “Wurzenpass” (road pass between Ex-Yugoslavia and Austria) alive, when we saw all the lights down in the valley and I knew: we are safe.
I will always be grateful to the family that helped us to flee.
I was alone with my three sons, my husband was in Bosnia, we were seperated for twelve years.
I have wonderful memories of my homecountry. But it doesn’t exist like this any longer.
My best wishes to all the people there, may they have hope and may our culture grow again in peace. And may there never be war again. I know what it is like.


Felix Igboanusi, from Nigeria

I’m of Ibo origin and actively involved in a movement that works for the independence of the state of Biafra from Nigeria. The conflict is 20 years old, we don’t fight with arms, we want a dialogue.
Information meetings of our organization are attacked, many people are killed and active members are taken prisoner and killed, you never find out what happened. I was lucky and could escape just in time.
Some people don’t have problems with blacks like me, others do. I greet the people and I’m treated as if I committed a crime.But now I get used to it. I am grateful for being here, I feel save.
If Biafra becomes independent, I’m going back tomorrow.

 

Emigrants

Tina Brandstätter, Calgary, Kanada

In my thoughts I’m still at home.


John Miklautsch, Milwaukee, USA

My father was here from 1923 to 1939, my mother from 1930 to 1939. I was born in Milwaukee in 1935. My parents went back in 1939, my father was homesick. I became an American citizen again in 1954, but didn’t know any English. In 1956 I emigrated to Milwaukee and after three months I volunteered for the Army for two years. I got my basic training in Missouri, then I went to the desert in Nevada, where they did nuclear tests. On weekends we went to Las Vegas, the job and the food were ok. Later I was stationed in Germany, Vietnam and South Korea.
The veterans hospital in Milwaukee is my home. Everything free.


Leo Fischbach, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

In Villach we lived at 44 Klagenfurterstraße. Only the Mitzner kids played football with us. The other kids did not play with us. They didn’t even say hello to us because we were Jews. In my childhood I felt completely isolated. I was the only Jewish child in highschool in Villach.