14 Sep 2021
Ella died by suicide in front of a department store on Alexanderplatz. She was an Iranian refugee who had been living in Germany for several years.
A vigil for Ella was held in Alexanderplatz five days after her death.
BERLIN taz | Although around 200 people are standing in front of a department store on lively Alexanderplatz, there is complete silence. It is the mourning rally for Ella, as they all call her, a transsexual woman from Iran who burned herself in public on this spot last Tuesday. Little by little people emerge from the crowd and put flowers and candles down. Many people cry, some softly, some loudly. A photo, a small cross and the blue-pink-white Pride flag of transgender people were also placed here.
The 40-year-old died in hospital on Wednesday. An employee of the department store had extinguished the burning woman with a fire extinguisher and a helicopter had taken her to the hospital. According to the police, it is not known why she took her own life. For everyone present, however, it is clear that it was the daily discrimination that drove her to suicide.
“I don't want to give a political speech,” says the organizer at the beginning. Like almost everyone here, she also found out about the suicide on Twitter. "But it's also clear that Ella left a political mandate," she continues. It is good to mourn together and to meet each other with appreciation.
"Ella, you did it to be seen."
On september 14th, a trans woman of color set herself on fire on alexanderplatz and died a short time later as a result.
Pictures from the mourning vigil on September 19th.
Why Ella set herself on fire with suicidal intent, even people who knew her have no definite answer. "I think Germany did not meet the expectations that she had. Berlin pretends to be a free city - you are sexually and psychologically harassed on every corner." Ella also experienced that.
The two women knew each other through Dagmar's work. For 20 years she has been a volunteer medical contact person for trans people, including refugees. Ella was introduced to her by her therapist, like many others before.
Like so many refugees, Ella assumed that she was welcome in Germany. She hoped for another life. In a video portrait of Ella from the Offenen Kanal Magdeburg from 2019, she says: “I had a good apartment in my home town, also work, a good salary. But I couldn't live in Iran as a trans woman. "
In Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death. As a trans woman, Ella could theoretically have lived there, but she would always have been denied social recognition. The great desire to simply be a woman was also denied her by various German training institutions. "The first place that gave her a diploma with the correct name and gender, Ella and wife, was TÜV in Berlin," says Dagmar. And she adds that Ella dreamed of working at Tesla.