Soohyun met In-sun for the first time and handed her flowers. It is these two women’s LOVE STORY.
Thirty-six years ago, Lee Soohyun met Kim In-sun at a Korean Christian Women’s Association retreat in Germany and gave her flowers. Despite threats from her then-husband and the disapproval of Korean society, In-sun found love and chose to be with Soohyun. Now, the two of them—who came to work as nurses in a foreign country where they knew nothing of the language—are still there and already in their 70s. For 30 years, they have lived together in Berlin and shared in all the joys and sorrows of life. Soohyun and In-sun have stood in solidarity with other foreigners like themselves while also looking after one another. They are two people who overcame boundaries. This is their love story.
Since 1950, Germany has brought in foreign workers “Gastarbeiter” from neighboring countries and many countries in Asia. From 1966 to 1976, more than 20,000 Korean nurses and mine workers relocated to Germany for work. In 1970, Lee Soohyun arrived in Hamburg along with other 150 Korean nurses on a 3 year contract. Kim In-sun arrived in 1972 via her mother’s invitation. After the Oil Crisis of the 70s, many foreign workers in Germany were not able to extend their contracts, and thus had to return to their countries. Korean nurses actively protested throughout Germany, and won the right to indefinitely extend their contracts. “Gast” means “guest” in German, and one can deduce from the word “Gastarbeiter” that these foreign workers were treated as guests or temporary workforce.
The two came to Germany in the 1970s when they were in their twenties, and has been active as protesters for the foreign worker rights. Now they are in their seventies. What are the lives of the aging first generation Korean immigrants like in Germany?
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