The first interview I ever did in my life was produced in 1980 by myself. I was 15 years old and my grandmother, Johanna Simon (1905 - 1990), came back from her first and also last trip to New York City. There she got the chance to see her three sons after more than 30 years.

She took them into her arms and all were happy to see their mother. Grandmother had lost her house and home in Hungary after World War II. So she and her family lived in Leipzig in East-Germany. My Oma did not like the communists and the G.D.R. socialism, but there was not a chance for her to fight against the system.

In 1980 came the wonder. Her three sons, Hans, Josef und Franz, sent an invitation for showing her "Gods own country". That was the same time I had to take a trip to Moscow, the capital of the former Soviet Union. My highschool teachers in Greifswald/Vorpommern were very interested in putting me and my classmates into a group of people who liked the friendship with the strong communists in the Soviet Union. The name of this club was "German-Soviet-Friendship". So they did it in a museum in front of a huge model of the destroyed "Berlin Reichstag".

Two cities, two countries, two worlds - how they could not have been more different during this years. Me, my friends and my family only knew the grey side behind the Wall. And we were not able to think about the possibility at having a look into the Western part of the world. And now that! My grandmother had the opportunity for "nicest six weeks of her life", as she told me later, in the U.S.A.

As a passionate lover of every kind of music I owned a cassette tape recorder "R 4100" made in G.D.R. with integrated microphone. The tapes were produced either in Wolfen (Saxony) or - when their own capacity was not big enough - in the "glorious" Soviet Union. The tapes squeak and you could not use them for the pure pleasure of listening to music. However, both had the big value of 20 Marks. That was a lot of money and I did not get as much pocket money as I would need to buy a lot of tapes. So my tape collection was realy small during that time. The quality of the cassette tapes was bad and the sound was noisy. But I had to preserve the memories of my grandmother. She had seen so many unbelieveable things with her own eyes that they realy screamed to be fixed for future generations. In 1980 I took a tape from the Soviet Union and recorded her voice. She told me a lot about her former home village Markó in Hungary, about the farm work, the birth of her eleven children, about the expulsion, the hard time after World War II and of course about the one and only trip to America she ever took in her life.

Her report about the United States was very important to me. Neither any newspaper report, nor any Hollywood movie, not even an American novel could change my thinking about this country. I visited a part of America a couple of month ago. I could see this huge country myself. My thinking changed, but the picture, which my grandmother burned into my mind, did not change. It is and it will be the multicollored painting by my unforgotten Oma. A few years later I produced some CDs from the original tape and gave it as a personal gift to some members of my family and to some friends. Now they all are able to hear the voice and the memories of my grandmother. Her voice and her memories of life are fixed. Now future generations are able to see the world through the eyes of this very interesting woman.