Papa, We’re in Syria
A father searches for his lost sons.
By Christian Lerch for rbb (November 2016)

In February 2015, Joachim Gerhard has reached the city of Elbeyli on the border between Turkey and Syria and stands within sight of Kobane, a city under fire. He shouts in despair into his phone. He is trying to persuade his two sons Mike (18) and Klaus (25) to come back to Germany with him. For the last time but one, the 51-year-old hears their voices – distorted and hysterical. Soon afterwards a video appears – Mike and Klaus pose with an automatic rifle under a black Daesh flag and declare their father an enemy. Nevertheless, Joachim does not give up on his sons.

The voice messages from the father and the Gerhard brothers, and the video, are all original material.

Papa, We’re in Syria won the Prix Europa for Best European Radio Documentary in 2017.

Christian Lerch works as an independent author and audio producer for various German speaking public broadcasters and podcasts.

Gabriela Hermer works as an executive producer at rbb, Berlin. Before she started working at rbb, she was an independent documentary filmmaker and radio feature producer.

Papa, We’re in Syria features the voices of Bettina Kurth, Florian Lukas and Fabian Busch. The sound was by Bodo Pasternak and Bettina Mikulla; assistant direction by Oliver Martin; direction by Christian Lerch and production by Gabriela Hermer. It was a Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg production in cooperation with Westdeutscher Rundfunk.