Andrea Ferber

In between

Refugees. Policy and administration in Germany unify the living circumstances of people who have asked for admittance into Germany, usually due to having escaped from difficult situations in their home countries. A variety of individual people have been turned into a general, homogeneous mass of „refugees“.

When they take refuge they are going on an expensive and dangerous journey without knowing their fate. Some of them have family in Europe, but most of the time they are not allowed to stay with them. If they reach Germany, after months of a dangerous and exhausting journey, a long investigation procedure begins, usually taking between 4 and 24 months, but sometimes even longer. During this time, the specific restrictions imposed on refugees make it impossible for them to start a self-determined life, they are not allowed to work. Their life is on hold.

The project was photographed in Wang, a small village in the Bavarian countryside. The refugee camp is an old farm in which up to 35 refugees are living. To get more accommodation, the associated stable has been converted into separate shared rooms. It is quite remote and with a poor infrastructure. There is no Bus they can take and the nearest train station is 6 km away.

Most of the time, complete strangers of different origins, socialization and language have to share the place. There is no opportunity to create privacy. Social contacts with non-inmates is almost impossible for them, because of lack the opportunity to meet in everyday life. There is also a lack of understanding the language, what gives the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

Through the inaction of their lives, the everyday life is very monotonous. They are waiting for a message about the asylum procedure, with the uncertainty of whether they can stay, or if they will be being sent home again.

The people in my photographs are from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey. All of them had their own personal reasons to leave their homes: Parents who try to give the opportunities of education and a normal life to their daughters; young men who escaped the war and want to support their families. Some fled because of persecution with political or religious background. A lot of them are highly educated and all of them left their former life they had behind.

Now they are safe, but the price they pay for their safety is not being able to continue their own lives. They are in a place in between and have to wait for what will happen.

Some of them have seen and experienced situations in their countries most people can‘t imagine here in Germany. How can anyone find a way to handle experiences like this if the option of selfdetermination is denied?

People are not escaping their homes to get money from the german government. They would love to work for their money and go back to their loved families. It‘s hard to watch the news every day and to see what‘s going on in your home city, knowing your family is still there. They miss their families very much and keep asking themselves the same question every day: When and how will this situation end?