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C-stories: The life-saving cell phone

Every day our communicators meet new people and encourage them to take part in a dialogue. These encounters often lead to interesting conversations and touching moments somewhere between our historical objects and the numerous interactive stations. Our C-stories will give you a brief insight into these encounters between the museum and its audiences.

An integration class visits the museum this morning. After a while, I see three young men sitting rather perplexed in front of a content screen in Tools. I go over and ask if they’d like to have a go on a Kyburz, a typical three-wheeled electric vehicle used by our postmen. All three are thrilled and, as they hand out parcels, we get chatting.

It turns out they are from Eritrea. I ask if the name Mussie Zerai means anything to them. At first, they look at me in disbelief, even a bit sceptically. I take them over to the life-saving cell phone. And that’s when one of the young men, hardly 18, tells me a story that still moves me almost to tears: he had boarded a refugee boat in Libya and got into difficulty at sea. Someone had then called Mussie Zerai, who alerted the coast guard, which finally came to their rescue. And now here he is in Bern, at our museum, looking at the cell phone that had belonged to his rescuer – unbelievable!

I’m very touched by the young men’s joy and gratitude at seeing their personal history had found a place in our museum. And as they leave the museum, the young man comes over especially to say goodbye again.

Kind regards, Stefan


Stefan Käsermann, former communicator, Museum of Communication, Bern


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