«Vergiss.mich.nie» («never forget me») is an Instagram series about the fate of a Swiss «Verdingkind» («contract child») – a term referring to children who were placed with new families by the authorities, often ending up working on farms. Anna, the protagonist in this fictional story, is 14 when she is sent to live on a farm. There, she becomes a slave laborer and is subjected to violence and physical abuse.
Her stories could be experienced live, in real-time, from 4 to 24 May 2021, and are now accessible as Instagram Highlights.
«In the future, I see myself as a storyteller, because stories are what shapes, touches and educates us.» – Elena Clavadetscher
Archive images and illustrations in the Instagram feed complement the story level and offer an insight into life in Switzerland between 1900 and 1978. The aim was to give viewers an understanding of that time and society, and of Anna's personal story.
«I see myself in a position which allows me to combine aesthetics with socially relevant content.» – Yvonne Haberstroh
Despite its explosive nature, the subject of contract children is still little known amongst a younger audience. In «Vergiss.mich.nie», the two B.A. graduates tell a painful and touching story based on real people's individual fates and explore the narrative possibilities of social media (e.g. storytelling in real time, interaction with the audience). The format is exceptional both in terms of design and personal commitment, and has attracted a lot of interest, not just among the audience but also in the media. It was launched at the same time (but independently) as similar projects by large media companies and is on a par with them. «Vergiss.mich.nie» also contributes to the wider question of how to convey a piece of history to a young audience using its favourite medium.
SRF – Swiss Radio and Television