Two Girls. One Train. A Divided City:
Memories of Ghost Trains and Ghost Stations in East and West Berlin

Ghost Train – Memories of ghost trains and ghost stations in former East and West Berlin

Memories of Ghost Trains and Ghost Stations in East and West Berlin is a collaborative, international Motion-Comic-project. It tells the intertwined story of two childhood memories about ghost trains by East German historian Anja Werner and West Berlin social anthropologist Sarah Fichtner. Iranian artists Azam Aghalouie and Hassan Tavakoli  of Berlin provided Illustrations and motion design.

“Inside the ghost train.” Illustration: Azam Aghalouie and Hassan Tavakoli 

This motion comic engages in multi-leveled encounters: memory meets memory, East meets West, two German stories meet the imagination of Iranian artists, illustrations turn into moving images.

“Mysterious rumble.” Illustration: Azam Aghalouie and Hassan Tavakoli 

The Motion Comic was conceived in September 2019 in our Berlin workshop.

The online Premier on the 9th of November 2020 was part of the blog and YouTube channel of the Medienwerkstatt Encounters for the 31th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Read what the authors and artists reveal about the creation of the Motion-Comic.

The Motion Comics was realized thanks to the generous support of the Kone Foundation, Finland, which finances the Re-Connect / Re-Collect project.

A selection of comments the creators received:

“I just watched your little piece of art and was immediately put back into my childhood. I can share every word of what you said about travelling through ghost stations. I did so many times as line 6 was my line into “the world” (I lived near Tempelhof Airport then).  So, thank you for this reminder of times long past (I just went 60). It was nice hearing from you and be sure we remember you just as well ! Greetings from your old English teacher xxx”

“I just saw the short film about the Ghost Trains of Berlin and I was deeply touched by it. I see that the story, text and narrators were Sarah Fichtner and Anja Werner and I wonder if you are the Sarah? I was born in Berlin during the war but never lived there although I visited this city many times over the decades including when there were the ghost trains.” 

“This is the heart-warming story of two children and their family and friends in East- and in West-Berlin before the Wall came down. It‘s timely, the Wall came down 31 Years ago, today! Although I didn‘t live in Berlin during that time, this post-War period affected me greatly and now this cine-cartoon and its underlying story touches me deeply. Hope that all will enjoy watching it and think how we can learn from the past. … Everything was done masterfully.”

“I remember the time I was an 8-year-old girl in San Diego consciously watching the news for the first time. I remember the excitement of watching people tearing down a wall, celebrating, crying, hugging each other. All that visible emotions and a strong sense of hope that came out of a place called Berlin. Little did I know that I have grown to call that place home for over a decade now. Another memory of the divide was when I was hospitalized a few years ago. The elderly woman lying on the bed next to me was from the former West and the elderly woman on the left of my bed from the former East. That one week stay was memorable for the stories they told me, how lives and relationships took very different turns, and the conversations between family members with me in the middle 🙂”

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