Chapter 2 Heimsuchung (provindential visitation)

During the first six weeks of my stint, conversations with village inhabitants, from Pampow and Blankensee were the priority. This generally took place in private homes. By taking in the history of both individuals as well as the place itself, I was able to gather information to build on, facilitating the development of a site-specific project. All of these conversations were recorded. This sound material was then edited and, finally, published as Biographische Akkorde (biographical notes).

The history of the village was shaped by the inhabitants' relationship with neighbouring Poland, which has changed a number of times. Many Blankensee residents have their roots in what is now Polish territory. Many of them look back on, at least in retrospect, a contented period under Socialist rule in the GDR. Later, they experienced a loss of economic stability after the end of East Germany.

A lack of employment opportunities has led to large numbers of young people migrating to where they hoped to find work. The population of the village is elderly and this has facilitated the present lack of infrastructure: there are no shops and only one restaurant left, which is only open when people tend to come. There are no schools or a nursery anymore either. Much of the population has very little money. They often have to go without things once considered basic. Long-term residents lament a decline in social cohesion within the village and the result is, often, isolation.

Recent immigrants try to adjust to life in a rural setting.
Young Polish families are welcomed as a hope for the future, a chance for maintaining some semblance of village life.

 

HEIMSUCHUNG (usually translated as 'providential visitation' but with the word 'home' in it as well in German) Anni and Koni Vormelker. The northern German dialect (plattdeutsch) expression, MI KRICHT HIER KEENER MEHR WECH, (nobody's gonna get me outta here) which Koni Vormelker used in our discussions provides the title for the entire project.