Dessau or “The Most Unsatisfied Town”

Rolf Teigler, Maman Salissou Oumarou, and Annette Wurbs at the premiere party of the short film Gebratene Tauben at Kiez Kino Dessau.

Rolf Teigler, Maman Salissou Oumarou, and Annette Wurbs at the premiere party of the short film Gebratene Tauben at Kiez Kino in Dessau.

I recently read that the town of Dessau was declared Germany’s ‘most unsatisfied town’ by the magazine Stern in 2003. Six years later, I wonder how much this has changed. Dessau is host to the Bauhaus Institute, Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency, and the Hugo Junkers Technical Museum. It is also home to 15% unemployment (approximately twice as high as the national average) and two well-known incidents of racially-motivated violence — the murder of Alberto Adriano and death-in-custody of Oury Jalloh — which have marked the town as a ‘no-go zone’,  a label many locals seem very anxious to shed.

I am currently at work on a new play inspired by the tragic death of Oury Jalloh. The process of gathering source material for my writing led me to explore a city that I would have avoided at all costs not very long ago . I made my first visit to the town last weekend where I attended the premiere of a new film by director, writer and actor Maman Salissou Oumarou (Mama, Oury Jalloh and Gebratene Tauben). I’ve attached images here and will return later with more impressions …

A board on the sidewalk in Dessau, promoting its image as a place full of potential

A board on the sidewalk in Dessau, promoting its image as a place full of potential.

Interkulturelle Woche in Dessau Stadtpark

Interkulturelle Woche in Stadtpark Dessau.

Police officers on watch beside the Alberto Adriano memorial in Stadtpark Dessau

Police officers on watch beside the Alberto Adriano memorial in Stadtpark Dessau.

Alberto Adriano memorial in Stadtpark Dessau

Alberto Adriano memorial in Stadtpark Dessau.

A McDonald's sign scales the wall of an apartment complex in Dessau

A McDonald's sign scales the wall of an apartment complex in Dessau.

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