Open Call: Wenn Sie in der DDR oder in Syrien gelebt haben, laden wir Sie ein, Ihre Erfahrungen, Geschichten und Fotos mit uns zu teilen, um eine Karte der Sinne mit uns zu erstellen.

The Smell of Dictatorship ++ Open Call ++

© Maritta Iseler

What does dictatorship smell like? What does it leave behind inside of us? How does it represent itself on a city map, how is it inscribed in the streets, libraries, bodies, everyday objects and archives? Dictatorships do not leave us. Even when we leave them behind, they grow a map of sensation inside of us. Sensations that combine the past, the present and the future.

If you have lived in the GDR or in Syria (or in any other dictatorship) we are inviting you to share your experience, stories, photos and to navigate this map of sensations with us.

  • Contact us if you have left the GDR to live in Syria or vice versa. We are interested in your personal experience of similarities that link the two countries in your memory / your dreams / your body.
  • if you are from the GDR and have been in contact with Syrians (e.g. letter exchange, studies, relationships, etc.);
  • or if memories of yours are triggered when you see, smell, hear, taste, or do something that brings you back to experiences of dictatorship. (e.g. hearing a certain type of music, seeing objects such as a certain type of furniture or cloths, etc.);
  • If you have dreams related to a dictatorship.

Get in touch! Send your experience in writing, photos, drawings to Dima AlBitar Kalaji and Annett Gröschner until 1 July 2021 at redaktion(at)

We will present the outcome of this project in literary texts and readings, a podcast and a visual exhibition on the WIR MACHEN DAS website.

Read more about this project.
Read Information in Arabic.

The project page of The Smell of Dictatorship

“The smell of Dictatorship” is a WIR MACHEN DAS project by the author and editor Dima AlBitar Kalaji and the writer Annett Gröschner. It is funded by the Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur (The Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Eastern Germany).