The art of the story
The story of
I heard you are an autograph hunter?
Jörg Petersen: I am a collector. I’ve been collecting autographs for almost 20 years. I also met the singer of “Unheilig” (“Unholy”) two or three times. “Der Graf” invited me to the hotel to have a drink. He wanted to know how I found his music, and I told him. A song of his was playing at my brother’s funeral service: “Mein Stern” (“My Star”). Since his band is called “Unheilig”, Der Graf found it fascinating that someone would take a piece from his repertoire to play it in a church. We met by chance on the street in Hamburg two years after our conversation, and he addressed me by my name; that was quite something.
You lived on the street for six and a half years and broke off contact with your family. How did you find out about your brother’s death?
Jörg Petersen: I always had a good relationship with my mother, but not so much with my father. He was the reason I ran away from home. At some point, I called my mother. She told me that my youngest brother had been in an accident. And she also said my father had died.
Both messages at once?
Jörg Petersen: Yes. On the same day. My father passed away in January 2008. My brother turned 29 in February, crashed in March and passed away in July. That was a hard time. After my brother died, there were three of us left in the family. My other brother Ulf, my mother and me. I slowly managed to get back on my feet after the funeral service. We grew close together. We said, “If we’re not there for each other now, then when?” And that’s actually the good thing: the funeral service and the burial brought the family back together.
And that holds until today?
Jörg Petersen: Yes, it still holds today.
Now you have a flat again. But what was the time on the street like for you?
Jörg Petersen: It was hard. I had the feeling that I was not worth anything. I was insulted and kicked. Not pleasant memories. But on the other hand, I also used to say: “Here I’m free, here I can be me; no one can tell me anything here.” I don’t know if it was God’s divine providence. But every time I reached the lowest point, something happened to make me feel positive about life again.
What do you mean by “the lowest point”?
Jörg Petersen: The lowest point means when you give up. When you think nothing can be done. When you’re standing in front of a big cliff. Something always pulled me out of there.
You spoke of divine providence. Are you a believer?
Jörg Petersen: I believe for myself, I don’t go to church, and I’m not in the church. But somehow, there must be a power that looks after you, that protects you. Humans start to believe again when they are in need. And it was probably a lucky coincidence that I now work at the diaconal services in a home for the elderly.
You got the job through a client who always bought his Hinz&Kunzt from you. Does your job fulfil you?
Jörg Petersen: My job makes me incredibly happy because I can do something good for the people I interact with. I am there for the social moments, for the social life. I offer the seniors memory training, Plattdeutsch rounds, newspaper rounds, advice rounds and one-on-one conversations. You get so much strength and so much joy from that.
More about Jörg:
Text: Jonas Füllner
Foto: Mauricio Bustamante