A play in the framework of the exhibition "Voices" at Forum Wissen- about linguistic research during the war, 1917-1918


In the context of the exhibition STIMMEN - Sprachforschung im Krieg 1917-1918 the world premiere of the play AVAZ | VOICES | UNERHÖRTE STIMMEN takes place

Only few Göttinger:innen are probably aware that in the camp Ebertal at the time of the First World War also a group of soldiers from the today's border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan was held, whose voices were recorded by the sg. "Phonographische Kommission" for an archive. The collection of voices, influenced by colonialist ideas, still exists today, but the men who let their voices speak for a dubious project have remained unknowns to this day.

In the production, three actors lead the audience through the Forum Wissen. They are well able to put themselves in the shoes of the soldiers of the time, as they come from the same regions as they did. Haneef Beloch, Samiullah Beloch and Sultan Zeb Khawaja play Sunab Gul, Shaddad Khan - who is buried in the Göttingen city cemetery - and Abdul Aziz Khan. Author Luise Rist has written a play in discussion with them that approaches a gap in the writing of history and the untold stories of three men whose voices have been archived but not listened to.

The play AVAZ tells the story of three prisoners in Göttingen who were summoned to the house of the famous Göttingen Iranist Professor Friedrich Carl Andreas - husband of Lou Andreas Salomé - in Göttingen's East Quarter in 1917 and 1918 to be at his disposal for his linguistic research.

The piece weaves together materials from surviving manuscripts of prisoners, fragments of texts translated for the first time for the exhibition. It was created in close connection with researchers in Göttingen and India - with the historian Dr. Neekee Chaturvedi and the playwright Sobodh Patnaik, who themselves contributed texts and stories from their perspective.

In the alternation of perspectives, we experience the ambivalence of the situation in an initially entertaining way. The Göttingen actors of the play, some of whom speak the same languages as the then sweepingly called "Indians", playfully take on the piece of history and tell it along by embodying the prisoners.

Press comment:
Radio interview with Luise Rist and Franziska Aeschlimann on Stadtradio Göttingen by Tina Fibiger



Sunab Gul I Professor Friedrich Carl Andreas Haneef Baloch
Shaddad KhanSamiullah Baloch
Abdul Aziz Khan I Felix von LuschenSultan Zeb Khawaja

Direction and project management: Franziska Aeschlimann, Luise Rist
Text: Luise Rist
Music: Sultan Zeb Khawaja
Technology: Paula Kottwitz
Video technology: Thomas Kirchberg

A co-production with Forum Wissen: Ramona Dölling, Michael Fürst, Nina Knohl and Christian Vogel

In cooperation with Theater Natya Chetana (Bhubaneswar/ India) and the University of Rajasthan (Jaipur/ India): Subodh Patnaik and Dr. Neekee Chaturvedi


Premiere: Friday, 31.03.2023, 7.30 p.m.
Further performances in co-production Forum Wissen: Sat, 01.04. / Sun, 02.04. / Fri, 02.06. / Sat, 03.06.
Performances in the context of "Stadtlabor - Wege zur kolonialkritischen Stadt": Sat, 10.06. / Sun, 11.06., each at 7.30 p.m.
Venue: Forum Wissen (Berliner Straße 28, Göttingen)

Admission is free of charge. There is only a limited number of tickets.

HERE you can pre-register


Photos: Stephan Beuermann