The term Migrationshintergrund, or immigration background, was coined by the German Office of Federal Statistics in 2005 to distinguish residents with German ancestry from those without. According to a 2008 census, around 863,000 Berliners – some 25 percent of the city’s population – possess an immigration background.

From ex-pats to asylum seekers, immigrants and their children are challenging the conventions of German identity. A collection of portraits, Stories from The Immigration Background, explores the lives of 10 Berliners who are forging the archetypes for Germany’s future as an Einwanderungsland, a country of immigration.

Stories from The Immigration Background was created by Julia Lipkins under the auspices of a 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellowship in Berlin, Germany.