Crossing Identities from Germany to Poland and back! Kazimierz is German with Polish German background and his favourite place in the whole wild world is Berlin. Kazimierz blends in with his looks ūüôā Therefore his experiences¬†differ from Alika’s who was marginalized for her overweight as well as from Caro’s who’s Dominican heritage makes her different from the stereotype of a German. As a result, he identifies much more with the German culture and adopts it as his own.

Photo: Semra Sevin, "Crossing Identities"

Photo: Semra Sevin, “Crossing Identities”

Kazimierz went to schools with students of diverse backgrounds. Consequently his best friends are diverse, too. Kazimierz feels at home in Poland and while he thinks that Polish people are more sympathetic and much better party animals,¬† Polish government’s foreigner adverse policy makes him uncomfortable enough to crave for international Berlin again at each visit. Nevertheless he admits that some posh areas of Berlin like Mitte or Prenzlauer Berg are filled with arrogant locals. To Kazimierz, Berlin as a whole, is more divergent then other cities of Germany, just relaxed and cool. You could wear and be many things, live different lives. Berlin is a gender diverse friendly city. One of Berlin’s mayors was openly gay. Kazimierz says, you see men with breasts or women with penises. He discovers something new each time, let it be a community living together alternatively in a house, a waterfall in Kreuzberg or a shop with a cool jacket (which turned out to be a girls jacket ūüôā

Photo: Semra Sevin, "Crossing Identities"

Photo: Semra Sevin, “Crossing Identities”

Kazimierz likes Germans for their constructive directness in conflict situations and their profound thinking. And like me, he is a fan of Berlin public transportation: clean, comfortable, punctual, pleasing to the eye, air-conditioned, quiet…. well it is hard to stop me and Kazimierz here. We both experienced the apocalypse of New York subways. And on top, it’s safe to ride the bike in this town. Both give Kazimierz and his friends an immense amount of independence and freedom. Due to crippled public transportation, the students I interviewed in L.A. unanimously where dependent on their parent’s schedule and mercy to be able to move around, see their friends, go to school and back home. I could not imagine how to fit that into my schedule if I had a family.

Even though Kazimierz would not want to live anywhere else he admits that some cities are great to live in, but might be boring for tourists. For example NYC, is an overwhelming town to do sightseeing and go shopping, however living in that town, can be very tough. L.A. again, can be a great city to live in, however for a typical European tourist not so I think.

Photo: Semra Sevin, "Crossing Identities"

Kazimierz enthusiasm for Berlin and the German culture shows¬†a positivity¬†about the world he lives in. He was the student blending in most with the¬†look of locals. If we¬†found a culture where all groups could identify with the locals; And locals could see what they in common with migrants, we would have citizens who¬†would be much more positive about themselves and their environment. I can’t even imagine the positive impact and synergies evolving from it. There might not have a monetary benefit in the first place, however, we need to decide as humans how important humanism and harmony is to us. Thank you Kazimierz, for your insights and sharing your story with me!

Crossing Identities was kindly sponsored by the Berlin Senate for the 50y jubilee of the partner cities Los Angeles and Berlin in 2017.

Writer & Photographer Semra Sevin

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