On the sad anniversary of the Russian war we publish Jelena Jeremejewa’s Ukraine journal in English translation.
Berlin filmmaker and author Jelena Jeremejewa was visiting her family in Kyiv at the beginning of the war. In her journal Since September I want to go to Kyiv she reports on the first days of the war, on her escape and the thoughts and fears she, her family and her friends have had in these days, weeks and months. She is aware of the different perspectives with which Germans / Western Europeans and Ukrainians view the events of the war, and tries to convey the Ukrainian view. The diary covers the period from mid-February to early May.
I have been wanting to go to Kyiv since September. To my father and my friends. There was always something getting in the way. Deadlines, half-term holidays, working on my relationship and working on looking after things, simply working, German Christmas, New Year, my 40th birthday, and then Omicron. On February 16th I am finally ready to go. Finally going home.
The mood in the packed aeroplane is sombre. Just a few German journalists who can still find something to laugh about, swapping notes on a really delicious and indescribably cheap sushi in Kyiv. My brother picks me up from the airport. I breathe the familiar February air, fresh and full of exhaust fumes. The language wraps itself around me like a blanket and makes me feel safe. People are glad to see their friends and family who are there to pick them up. Flowers, names on signs and calls for taxis. Everything is stopping and starting. Traffic jam until we get across the Dnipro – everything still in place, everything still where I am from.“ (Taken from the book.)
Jelena Jeremejewa: Since September I have been wanting to go to Kyiv. Ukraine journal, translated from the German by Catherine Hales, 66 pages, 12,- € – also available in German
Jelena Jeremejewa is an artist, author and documentary film director. In her films „Der Ernst des Lebens“ (SWR) and „Irgendwo dazwischen“ (WDR) she addressed issues of systemic educational injustice and inequality of opportunity among young people with migration experience. Her fields of work are connected to her history of origin – today she conducts film workshops at schools in cooperation with various sponsors to sensitize children to radical diversity in addition to anti-semitism and racism.
Most recently, she published on divergent memory narratives within the heterogeneous Jewish community in „Neues Judentum – altes Erinnern?“ Current work is at the intersection of research and art, addressing questions of the impact of counterfactual historical narratives within post- socialist cultures of Eastern Europe.
She completed her PhD at Bauhaus University Weimar on the invisibility of trauma as individual and collective experience in Russian documentary film of the 1990s-2000s in 2019. She teaches documentary film practice at Bauhaus University Weimar and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.
Catherine Hales is a poet and translator who lives in Berlin. She has published two collections and one chapbook of poetry and her translations of contemporary German poetry have been published in several print and online magazines in the UK, the US and Europe.