Sharmin's Note

Brenda Spiesbach's favourite object

Melanie Huber | 21. June 2021

Portrait von Brenda Spiesbach

In our series #FavouriteObject we want to showcase some very special objects from BERLIN GLOBAL, hand-picked by the many people involved in the creation of the exhibition.

Brenda Spiesbach, Zoya Mahfoud, Verda Kaya und Benny Golm vor der Flucht-Wand im Raum Krieg

Brenda Spiesbach, Zoya Mahfoud, Verda Kaya and Benny Golm

Today, Brenda Spiesbach, scientific curator, tells us why “Sharmin’s Note,” part of the Interview Project about flight, is her favourite object.

„Sharmins Notiz“, der Zettel den Sharmin im Gefängnis schrieb
„Sharmins Notiz“, der Zettel den Sharmin im Gefängnis schrieb
Kulturprojekte Berlin und Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Foto: Oana Popa-Costea
"Sharmin's Note"

“I don’t really know where I am, it’s the worst day of my life. My son is sick and there is not much food and it is very cold […]”

Extract from the note Sharmin wrote in prison.

Sharmin wrote this note in 2014 when she was detained in a Bulgarian prison. As part of the project, ten people who came to Berlin between 1946 and 2018 spoke about their stories of flight. The project was created in collaboration with journalist Zoya Mahfoud, curator of participation Verda Kaya and photographer Benny Golm.

Brenda Spiesbach, Research Associate BERLIN GLOBAL

What are your responsibilities in the BERLIN GLOBAL team, Brenda?

I‘m part of the curatorial team for over three years now and my tasks are very diverse: conceptual and textual work, research on themes and objects of the aspects entertainment and war as well as accompanying participatory projects.

Why is “Sharmin’s Note” your favourite object?

I think Sharmin’s note is very impressive because it seems small and inconspicuous.
And at the same time it conveys so much: First of all, this handwritten note documents one of the darkest days in Sharmin’s life.
The text makes you sad, angry and ashamed of how we Europeans treat people who seek refuge.