Photo: iStock / Victoria Kotlyarchuk

The story of an escape

More than a million people have fled the Russian war of aggression from Ukraine to Germany, and over 30,000 of them have sought refuge in Hamburg.

One of them is Mansoor Sharif, who was born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1970 as the eldest of nine children and settled in Ukraine in 2015 for business and pleasure. Together with his Ukrainian wife and daughter, he fled the Russian bombs in June 2022 from Kyiv to Hamburg, where he currently lives.

Mansoor Sharif’s life and escape story can now be listened to online in the Workshop of Remembrance of the Research Centre for Contemporary History Hamburg. This was made possible by a cooperation between the Centre for Urban History in Lviv/Ukraine, the Research Centre for Contemporary History and Körber Stiftung.

In the summer of 2023, historian Natalia Otrishchenko came to Hamburg from Lviv and conducted biographical interviews with Ukrainian refugees in the Hanseatic city. One of them was Mansoor Sharif, who spoke at length about his life in Pakistan, his new personal and professional start in Ukraine and his escape to Hamburg.

Together with Linde Apel, Head of the Workshop of Remembrance at the Research Centre for Contemporary History Hamburg, Natalia Otrishchenko has made the conversation accessible for the new thematic focus “Open City Hamburg?” of the Workshop of Remembrance. There, people who sought refuge in Hamburg, tell their life stories. The aim is to make migration visible in the city.

Thematic Focus: Open City Hamburg? – Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg (German)

Access to the interview: Mansoor Sharif – Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg (German)