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Berlin, 25th November 2015

In 2013 we, the activists from International Women Space (IWS), set ourselves the task of documenting the lives and stories of refugee women in Germany. We approached the project in the Latin American tradition of testimonial literature – looking to amplify the voice of the voiceless.

“In contrast to conventional writing about the colonial situation, which is produced at the centers of global power and near the apices of class difference, testimonial literature is produced by subaltern peoples on the periphery or the margin of the colonial situation. Thus the margins of empire are now “writing back” in an overdue attempt to correct the Western canon and its versions of “truth”. Testimonial literature has been defined by George Yuidice as an authentic narrative, told by a witness who is moved to narrate by the urgency of a situation (e.g., war, oppression, revolution, etc.).” – Voices for the Voiceless

Two years on, after many stories being exchanged and many women working collectively on this project, IWS is pleased to announce the launch of IN OUR OWN WORDS. The book contains texts by and about women and includes 10 testimonials of refugee women in Germany: women who could have migrated, but wouldn’t have been given a visa. Women who became refugees in their own regions before attempting to reach Europe by the deadly routes available. Women fleeing war, poverty and environmental disasters caused by corporation’s greed, women fleeing persecution for not conforming to the gender they were assigned at birth. Women running away from their own families for not accepting domestic violence perpetrated by patriarchy.

IN OUR OWN WORDS is a documentation of brave women who have fought difficult realities, we are sure it will inspire us all in the struggle for emancipation. The choice of the launch date, the 25th of November, is not accidental – it is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence, specifically violence against women and gender persecution as well as the ways women find to survive such oppressions are common themes of the life experiences recorded in this book. One of IWS’s main demands is the right of women to be granted asylum on specific gender-persecution grounds, without fear of removal or deportation.

The International Women Space is a feminist political group of migrant and refugee women in Germany, it was formed in 2012 within the occupation of the Gerhart-Hauptmann School in Berlin Kreuzberg. IWS challenges dominant knowledge structures and fights against discriminatory policies and practices, which oppose the emancipation of refugee and migrant women and all women.


> Here you will find related artwork/flyers/posters that can be used for publicity purposes.


Thank you for your interest in our book IN OUR OWN WORDS!

We would be glad to send you a copy in return for a donation – suggested minimum per book of 5 Euros plus 5 Euros to cover postage costs. Please write an email to us and fill out the form below with your information and we will send you the book

NB: If you live in Berlin, you can come to our space on Mondays, (Oranienstr. 14 a / Heinrichplatz) from 15h-18h and get the book directly, saving the postage costs expenses – email us on to arrange this.



  • Interview with radio flora about iwspace and our book IN OUR OWN WORDS - Der International Women Space (IWS) sind die Herausgeber_innen des Buchs „In our own words / In unseren eigenen Worten. Refugee Women in Germany tell their stories / Geflüchtete Frauen in Deutschland erzählen von ihren Erfahrungen“. Beim IWS handelt es sich um eine feministische politische Gruppe, in der sich Migrantinnen und geflüchtete Frauen of Color in…
  • “It is About Freedom of Movement”- a refugee woman on life before and after arriving in Germany (Audio) - “It is About Freedom of Movement” is one of the testimonials of refugee women in Germany published in our book IN OUR OWN WORDS / IN UNSEREN EIGENEN WORTEN. See the text below (in English or Deutsch) or listen to a reading by Devika Ranjan:   I decided to leave my country because the time had come when…
  • 07.01: Veranstaltung: Amplify the voice of the voiceless - Do. | 07.01.16 | 20 Uhr | Café Cralle | Hochstädterstr. 10a With this slogan we will host our next information event at Café Cralle. It is part of the project of the International Women Space (IWS) and we would like to bond with this slogan. To often politics is made without the people also in…
  • 19.12: IWS debating the difficulties of translation in the 1. Berliner Buchmesse „Queeres Verlegen“ - 19.12.2015 · 11–21 UHR · BEI TRIQ, BERLIN Programm Diese Liste ist nicht abschließend und wird ständig aktualisiert und ergänzt. Schaut also auf jeden Fall öfter mal rein. Informationen findet Ihr auch hier, bei fb. LESUNGEN 12:30—13:30 steff urgast liest aus „goodbye gender“ von rae spoon und ivan coyote, stellt den verlag vor und  lann hornscheidt spricht…
  • Celebrating “In our own words” - We launched our book “In our own words” on the 25.11. and it was great to see so many people gathering for this event. The house was so full that not all could fit in the room where we had the program, which included a video of the Yazidi Women, made by our friend and activist…
  • 19.12. IWS on the 1. Berliner Buchmesse „Queeres Verlegen“ - 19.12.2015 · 11–21 UHR · BEI TRIQ, BERLIN We will be at the Bookfair with our book “In our own words” from 11h on. At 14:45 – 15:15h we invite you to participate in the discussion “Difficulties of translation”, when we will speak of the challenges of making a multilingual publication, how we can improve/create a team of politically engaged…
  • BOOK LAUNCH – Refugee Women in Germany tell their stories – IN OUR OWN WORDS - (English below)  BUCHVERÖFFENTLICHUNG // PRESSEMITTEILUNG + EINLADUNG IN UNSEREN EIGENEN WORTEN Geflüchtete Frauen in Deutschland erzählen von ihren Erfahrungen WANN: 19 Uhr | 25. November 2015 WO: TheaterSpielRaum, Bethanien-Südflügel, Mariannenplatz 2B, 10997 Berlin Wir – die Aktivistinnen vom International Women Space (IWS) – hatten es uns 2013 als Aufgabe gesetzt, die Lebensgeschichten von geflüchteten Frauen…


6 thoughts on “IN OUR OWN WORDS

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