Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog

In Thessaloniki many people are living in the streets. It is a cold and very rainy spring this year, on top the curfew which makes it almost impossible to reach the people. The organisations are closed, so there is no support for them. We try to find ways to support them although we are not allowed to leave our homes for supporting them.

We are already giving supplies (food, clothes, blankets, sleeping bags or hygiene products) that have been donated by Greek people or international private organisations. There are not many funds from European organisations, so we still need private donations. THANK YOU!


Mit der verhängten Ausgangsperre, die nur noch wenige Ausnahmen zulässt, ist es schwierig geworden die Menschen zu unterstützen, wir versuchen es dennoch so gut es in unseren Möglichkeiten steht. Der Frühling ist bisher verregnet und nachts auch wieder sehr kalt.

Was wir nun mehr denn je benötigen sind die Mittel um helfen zu können. Von den Spendengeldern können wir nebenbei auch die lokalen Geschäfte unterstützen, indem wir bei ihnen einkaufen. Ein wichtiger Aspekt im Griechenland der ökonomischen Krise und inmitten einer Situation, in der ein Virus nicht nur die Gesundheit, sondern auch die Wirtschaft zerstört.


Thank you again and again Heimatstern e.V. to make it possible to have backpacks, food, shoes, sleeping bags, babymilk and -food, sanitary items in big numbers in the most uncomplicated way... Irgendwann errichten wir euch ein Denkmal mitten in Thessaloniki!


Since I moved to Thessaloniki almost 2 1/2 years ago, I got € 20.185,49 donations from friends and people in solidarity from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, France, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Spain, Romania. 

That's amazing! That's solidarity!! Das ist großartig! Das ist Solidarität! Thank you! Danke! Ευχαριστώ! Ευχαριστούμε!


Zwar kann ich keine Spendenquittungen ausgeben, dafür kommt jeder Cent zuverlässig bei der Hilfe für geflüchtete und bedürftige Menschen an - jeder noch so kleine Betrag ist hilfreich. DANKE dafür!!


IBAN: DE14701500000903121812 / BIC: SSKMDEMM


Ελληνικός λογαριασμός: GR8602602060000100201430994 / BIC: ERBKGRAA


Now we complain that we feel unsecure. That we don’t know how to structure our days. People say they feel other-directed. That they have a lot of work, but they cannot concentrate neither do have the energy to do what they have to do. They say it wouldn’t be that bad if they would know when this would end…

Reminds you of something?

Asylum seekers are waiting for months and years, and they never know when and how it ends. They are living in the most unsecure situation, dependent from others. And many of them many times cannot focus on something, because the whole situation makes them feel so bad and makes them inactive.

Please remember that.

When it will be over.

For us.

Please help us to continue to help! 


Since 21.03.20 we have to send an sms or to have a paper with us that we fill out every time we go to a doctor, the supermarket, a bank, to give help, or to go out with a pet. Additional we have to carry an ID with us. There are fines if we don't have.

It's a clever move from the right-wing government to get rid of the refugees who live in the streets and who don't have papers or one of the above-mentioned reasons to be in the streets.

We are trying to figure out how to support the refugees in our city. We have ideas, we don't have many capacities to go out, we have the will, and we still have some supplies.

But not as much as we need.

That's why we still and again depend on your help. Please share this crowdfunding, we will need every cent.


Please share this page. Every cent counts. Thank you!

Keyword crowdfunding "EMERGENCY"


„I heard, things are not that bad in Greece”, a friend wrote me. 

Things ARE bad. As bad as Central Europeans cannot imagine. 

People in closed camps, refugees in the streets without any support. 

Bad weather since days (and the forecast says it will not get better the next days). 

Restrictions why you can leave your home for a short time. 

So many jobs and income lost, so many shops on the edge, a nightmare in a country in an economic crisis. 

The hospitals have been already before the new virus overwhelmed and worked with a lack of medications, bed linen, toilet paper. Due to the crisis so many doctors and staff have been fired the last years, or are not been paid for months. Directors of hospitals write that they don’t have masks, gloves and the essential for their work. 

“Things are bad, but I am glad to be here in this situation”, I replied.

Solidarity is not just a word in Greece. It is not the first difficult situation with which the country has to cope with. We are creative. We are flexible. We will go also through this. 


We are deeply grateful for a donation of 1.000 € which will enable us to continue to help others. The organization Heimatstern e.V., based in Munich / Germany has been assisting us for almost 3 years by sending us supplies for our solidarity activities at Oikopolis as well as the refugee day center Alkyone.


However, we have been running out of money over the last few months.

As our circumstances have changed, we can no longer let our seminar room for groups and so  we do not have any income anymore. Oikopolis is a social space which is the base for a wide range of activities, a place  for people to come together, to rest and to create new ideas on how to live better together. It is the place with a kitchen that we use to cook solidarity meals, and a place where people meet and from which we can support families in need. It’s the place where we always try to have supplies of essentials such as  clothing, food, baby milk, sleeping bags, medication. which can be accessed in times of emergency. In addition we always try to find the time, the dignity and the love to treat our human beings with the dignity they deserve. 


Today, Greece is celebrating the Greek Independence Day.

We are celebrating solidarity! 




Wir sind zutiefst dankbar für die Spende von 1.000 € die uns hilft weiterhin zu helfen. Der Verein Heimatstern e.V. aus München hilft uns bereits seit fast 3 Jahren. Sie haben uns immer wieder Hilfe für unsere Solidaritätsaktionen bei Oikopolis geschickt, sowie Kleidung, Lebensmittel, Babymilch etc. für das Tageszentrum Alkyone.

Wir hatten bereits in den vergangenen Monaten kaum noch Geld.

Mit der neuen Situation, in der wir unseren Seminarraum nicht mehr an Gruppen vermieten können, haben wir überhaupt kein Einkommen mehr und können unsere Miete nicht mehr zahlen. 

Die Räume von Oikopolis sind die Basis für jede unsere Aktivitäten, es ist ein Platz um zusammen zu kommen, um sich zu erholen und um Ideen zu sammeln wie wir auf eine bessere Art zusammenleben können. Es ist der Ort wo die Küche ist, in der wir unsere Solidaritätsmahlzeiten für Menschen auf der Flucht und benachteiligte Menschen kochen. Wo sich Menschen treffen und von wo aus wir Familien unterstützen. Es ist der Ort, wo wir immer etwas für Notfälle zu haben: Kleidung, Lebensmittel, Babymilch, Schlafsäcke, Medikamente. Und wo wir immer versuchen die Zeit zu haben, die Würde und die Liebe die Menschen verdienen.

Heute feiert Griechenland den Unabhängigkeitstag.

Wir feiern Solidarität!


Also this is happening: A friend from Germany, working in an institution of the Protestant church in Frankfurt asked me to have a talk about the situation of refugees in Thessaloniki. 

She is collecting the information to share them with people in Germany. To inform them – in times when there is less than ever a public interest in refugees in Greece.

She listened, she noted, she asked for he crowdfunding-link.

We need money.

And we need interest and solidarity.

Maybe even more in times when we can only do a few things.


Before... before every life how we knew it before stopped, we saw each other almost every day. Sometimes in the morning before work, on the weekends for a late breakfast, at noon for a quick lunch or in the afternoons and evenings between meetings, for eating together or just to hang around. We went with the bikes somewhere, we cooked, we went to activities together, the two of us and together with other people. 

Now I am at home. Alone. Behind that door that keeps me away from spreading the virus. 

But we managed it to see each other today. He rang the bike bell in the street, I rang it from my balcony.

When he left, I almost cried.

This will pass. We will leave our houses again.

And I know since a few minutes more than before that we will not let him get deported! We will not have our lives here without him!


German TV on twitter: "Europe is thinking about sealing itself off." 

F*** you!!! Europe sealed itself off already and pays Turkey and libyan criminals to keep that status quo. But ok, now it's not about fortress Europe for people who are fleeing their homes for several reasons. Now we speak about business-(wo)men and it's a headline.


Picture: Lesvos, Sykamia beside the mountain of life-jackets, 2018


You, who do complain now that you cannot move freely wherever you want.

You, who are moaning that others control your life.

You, who insult the teachers and the government that your children cannot go to school.

You, who are inconsolable because the children‘s party or your holiday trip is cancelled.

You, who got blameless in that situation, like all of us.

You, who try to continue a most normal life. For you, for your children.

You - try to imagine how people feel who have to flee their homes.


Picture from Moria Camp, 2018, the camp in which 25000 men, women, minors, children and babies have to stay and where today again a huge fire broke out.


They considered themselves to be safe. They looked down on the so called „third world“. They said „But I did this myself because I am so diligent and great.“ They have been so proud for the work they did, the money they earned, the houses they built, the cars they bought. And even if someone got sick, everyone still made him/her feel that it was her/his own fault to suffer from cancer or whatever (can‘t count how often I have been asked why my husband did not have a health check and how often I replied that a melanoma at the meninges could not have been found in one thousand checks and can‘t count how often I felt still guilty that we never did these health checks).

Now we are in a situation where no one is guilty, a virus just spreads however and wherever it wants. Now we are in a situation were the so called „first world“ is no exception and we learn that we also can come in an emergency situation. Now we are at random in a place in which we feel unsecure. people who are at random born in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, in places with a long history of troubles, a sudden war or in places where people are so poor that the only chance of survival is to go somewhere else.

Of course, when I see the empty shelfs in Germany I understand that they still have the money to help themselves. When I see the closed shops in Greece, know that no one who has to stay away from his work will be payed, I understand that some more people will run out of money the next weeks. I still see the difference between a rich and a poor country and can see how this will have an impact. 

They considered themselves to be safe. Some safety you can buy. But not really. I really hope we will understand that we are different but all the same. In weakness, but also in strength. I really hope solidarity will be considered one day as the only way to live together.


„How is your wife?“ I asked while filling the food we cooked for his family in containers. „Wife good. But baby...“ and he made a „crazy“ sign on his head. „It‘s from Moria, you know, Lesvos.“

I know. And I understood. He, his (pregnant) wife and the three children under 4 have arrived from Afghanistan via Turkey with a boat in Lesvos. This is already more than children should experience in their live. Then they stayed in Moria camp. Nothing to add. Then they came via Athens to Thessaloniki and stayed in a house. With the new law (getting residence or asylum means you lose your benefits) they had to leave their apartment and found themselves four days and nights in the streets before small organisations like us started to support them with a hotel room and meals. 

He tried to find us one hour long. We are just down the street from his hotel. „I have so much in my head, I could not concentrate“ was what I understood when he explained his delay and why we had eventually to pick him up at the hotel.

Maybe his wife is ok, maybe their bodies are ok. But of course their souls are suffering. And without treatment they will suffer forever.



„What will they ask me at the interview?“, he asked. And I couldn‘t answer. „What will happen with my papers I have here when I have to go tomorrow to Ioannina?“, he asked, translated by our kurdish friend. One friend is facing his second interview, the other has to move tomorrow in another house and will - as the new law says - not have anymore his cashCard. He doesn‘t know in which floor, how many rooms, where excactly he, his wife and his children will move. The other, a man with amputated toes, alone from Syria here, will go tomorrow morning to a town, 3 hours away from Thessaloniki. An organisation found a place for him to stay. But where will he eat? We are trying to find solidarity groups there to support him, as we did the last weeks by organising cooked food for him every day. He got his today’s meals while the kurdish friend and me were cooking. For an afghan familiy, the woman pregnant, three children under 4. They lived four days and nights in the streets. Now an organisation will pay the hotel for them, but they need to eat. So we cooked. And will do it again tomorrow. 

Let‘s see which questions and which uncertainities we will face tomorrow.


We are living in a world where refugees cannot apply for asylum. Where refugees have to stay in overcrowded camps, ships and busses, at borders or in the streets. We are living in a world where not many people are interested in that fact and in that lack of humanity and dignity. We are living in a world where many people only care about themselves. "One world. One love" sounds pathetic. But I believe in that. And we try.


Wir leben in einer Welt in der Geflüchtete kein Asyl beantragen können. In der Geflüchtete in überfüllten Camps, Schiffen und Bussen, an den Grenzen oder auf den Straßen leben müssen. Wir leben in einer Welr, in der nicht viele Menschen an diesem Umstand interessiert sind, genauso wenig wie im Mangel an Menschlichkeit und Würde. Wir leben in einer Welt in der viele Menschen nur an sich selbst denken. "Eien Welt. Eine Liebe" klingt pathetisch. Aber ich glaube daran. Und wir versuchen es.


These days you cannot avoid to speak with people about what is happening in our country. Not if you go for a coffee with friends, not if you meet people in the street, even not if you go at a concert. And very quickly you get also opinions from people you never met before.

“You know, I think I cannot do anything. We cannot take everyone. I have my own life, I have three children, I cannot care for every problem in the world. And I think if we care for every problem in the world and we see only the difficult things, we lose our joy in life.” I replied that from my experience I never lost joy in my life in caring also for others, but he did not believe me. “I think there are more bad people in the world than good, so - what can you do?”

Yes. “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.” (Elie Wiesel)

I personally believe that there are more people who are arguing for the good. And unfortunately there are many many people who are indifferent, who are playing into the hands of the ones who doesn’t want the good for the world and for their neighbours.

…and who teach their children that to do nothing makes your life better. 


It is not only a slogan we said on demonstrations: Borders kill!

Actually not the borders themselves but human beings are killing other human beings. Payed by governments. Here supported by a European Union who decided to close their eyes and to let it go.

Two people in one week have been already killed in the Evros region. We cannot do very much. We can scream and shout and spray out anger and our sadness. We don't want to think what will happen next. We don't want to imagine...


I have been asked today again if I can organise babymilk in large numbers.

I don't know if I can. I will try.

Fortunately I have donations people send me the last week. I will try to organise it with my bike and with a lot of pharmacies and supermarkets.

Thinking about all the women and all the babies and small children.

What a difficult start in a little life.

What an exhausting life for the women.

What a situation in which we have to take care since years for things that a government should care for.


Language changes the thinking:

These are not „migrants“. These are refugees who are fleeing from war and from unbearable situations. 

I am a migrant. I could pack my bags, could say goodbye to my friends, could organise my life, could decide where I want to live.

People who arrive from Turkey are refugees. Seeking for protection, seeking for asylum. 

It is simply wrong to refuse them even the appication of asylum!

I appeal to the empathy of people who say „we have to protect our borders“, of people who travel now to the islands and to the Evros border to „support the nationalist friends“: I could be a refugee. You could be a refugee.


The first message I got this morning from a friend was „15.000“. 

„What?“ I replied.

But then I already saw the news: „Number of refugees in Evros has reached now 15.000.“

Some of these people are trapped there since almost two days without support.

Today we have to think what we will do, how we will handle the situation when these people are crossing or staying in Thessaloniki.

Like always there will be no help by the state.

We are so tired. And so angry. And we are full of sadness that human beings have to pay for politics. Nothing new. But sad. 

We will meet in a few hours to plan some worst case scenarios.


Καλώς ήρθατε. Fortress Europe.

I am so angry about everything that is happening these days in Greece. So angry about a far right government.

But maybe I am more angry about Europe, just saying „We have Dublin III“, and letting us alone beside Turkey with whom THEY made a bloody deal.


picture: Anadolu Agency via Getty images


😡 I am saying this since 1990 and I mean it and I know it from my experience: NO ONE LEAVES HIS/HER HOME WITHOUT A REASON. Refugees are not criminals, they have to flee their home.

#defendhumanity #europeact

Support our campaign.
MP3 Audio Datei 1.1 MB

Thank you for everyone who supports us!!

We are still working on the campaign, on Umers future, still thankful for every sharing of the petition 


„We need to tell the people what is happening here. Did you read about the refugee woman who gave birth yesterday in the street and a police man who was there cutted then the umbilical cord with his knife... I mean, this is happening somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Africa, but really, in Greece, in Europe?“

We were discussing the textes for a crowdfunding campaign.

It needs so much time and energy to fight for the framework that we can do our work.

We are forgotten. The refugees in Greece are forgotten. Maybe sometimes Europe hears about Moria camp, but Thessaloniki is not on the screen. Donations don‘t reach us anymore.

We continue. What else. The people are here. And we are here.


What I love to do when I am helping out in the Refugee Day Center is to make the people 2 good minutes. Last week we had a lot of nice people and I succeeded:

Many children played with me.

A man laughed, gave me a hug and said (I guess, my arabic, you know...) „God bless you“ after I tried to make the procedure with the signature for the shower and the washing machine a bit more funny.

A man wanted to give me his orange he had from the lunch because he was thankful that we washed his clothes.

A guy who washed with his clothes also his papers did not look that sad anymore when I tried to joke that he could say with the ball of wet paper „here my papers, ah, you cannot read my name?“

The staff who tried to find with me one can of tuna that has been announced in a list of donations a group o students brought us (and never has been found!) had a bit of fun in the whole mess in which they are working.

Many children laughed with me.

What I love to do is to make the people some good minutes. But it’s not only about laughing and joking. In three languages I hear stories, meet human beings with dreams and hope, and I feel sad for the whole situation, angry and helpless.


Greece wants to deport Umer, a refugee who has become a symbol of solidarity

We know that there are many people in the same situation.

We know that there are many people who are in worse situations.

We see these people, we know these people, we saw them in the camps on the Greek mainland and on the islands. We see them every day in the streets of Thessaloniki and in our organisations.


We know that there are people in other European countries who already speak the local language fluently, who are integrated and who are nonetheless deported to face an insecure future.

Not many people want to stay in Greece, but they are forced to, due to the Dublin III law. We are happy whenever one of them decides to learn the language, to find work and to be a part of Greek society despite the differences and difficulties. Like Umer, who lives and works with us since two years.


We want to support people from anywhere who want to be a part of a solidarity movement that we need in a country in an economic crisis.


We demand from the Greek government political asylum for Umer Sufyan.


And we ask you kindly to disseminate and promote our campaign in your country, especially the avaaz petition


Refugees stranded in Greece are a European issue.


When I am speaking about Umer, I say “he is family for me, and that’s what he is. 

I remember at the beginning when Oikopolis was full of people, he was the one with whom I did not speak that much, and actually I don’t know when everything changed. 

Luckily it changed because I wouldn’t know how to live my daily life without him. 


To meet for some minutes or for hours. To go for a bike ride. To go “to Pakistan” how I call it if we go to a Pakistan restaurant and I don’t have to do nothing at all, just to wait until the delicious food is coming. To text him when I am sick and to ask him to bring me some food after work. To bring him fruits, juice and toys when he is sick. To have a call from him always when I am in a bad mood and to feel better afterwards. To meet early in the morning before work for a coffee and laugh how wrinkled our faces look like. To speak about easy things and difficulties. About the past and the future. 


The other day he said to me “Oh, you never told me that.” And I replied “But it would be boring if we would know already everything about each other. We still have time together.” 


That’s what I believe. He will go nowhere, as long as he doesn’t want to leave Thessaloniki!


These days we are preparing a campaign for our pakistan friend. His application for asylum has been denied and we don't know what will happen next. 

While we are working on that, beside all the other things we are doing, I am so sick and tired of opinions people tell me when we are talking about refugees in Greece.

Just do something. Just help them with time, money, love.

I am thankful to live and work with people who do not only talk and complain, but who act. 


"It makes me angry when I listen to you this morning. Angry, because I am asking myself "Why don't we know about that?". The media doesn't tell us, they show soccer and the Beethoven jubilee, but not about refugees in Greece."

...a 15 year old girl in the school I was invited last week to speak about the situation of refugees in Greece. 

I understood her. I am also angry. And I am every time thankful if only one person in Europe is listening!



There was a place in the passageway where I am living. People used to sleep there. No wind, no rain. In Summer we put my mattress there, because we thought someone can take it. The people who slept there could use it. Even when the cleaning woman who is cleaning with thousands of liters of water put some extra water on it. Still it has been warmer than somewhere outside in the streets. And safe. No police ever got it. Yesterday they put a gate, a fence. To protect what exactly? The empty storages behind it. Lucky everyone who has a roof over their head.


Thank you Annabella and Helene for your monthly donation since I moved to Thessaloniki.

Thank you Siggi for donating half of your fee.

Thank you Schule für freie Entfaltung Tempelhof for your invitation and the time to listen yesterday.

Thank you everyone who donates money. We need this for our work. More than ever.


Like the last 2 winters I got a sinusitis from the cold nights in my unheated apartment. Like the last winters I remember the children in the camp, all of them being sick. I am thinking of the people on the street. At least I can turn the heater on when I wake up. They can‘t.


That‘s solidarity: people had a party on New Year‘s Eve and had many and wonderful leftovers. They brought them and we went with the bikes to distribute them to people who are living on the street.

That‘s the reality: people have to hide, because the police is evicting the places where they are spending the nights to survive the next day. We went to many hidden places, but couldn‘t find during the day so many people.

That‘s still sad: people shouldn‘t live in places around the rubbish. Every single person deserves dignity and humanity.


Maybe today I found out the difference between the big organisations like UNHCR or IOM and us. We got again a message through our facebook site “support refugees in Greece”. A guy, living by now in the south of Greece on the mainland wrote that he needs help. My answer: “Sorry, we are located in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, so we cannot help you over there.” Some more answer from him, he could also come to Thessaloniki if we want. - We want? I replied that also here many people are living in the streets, in order to avoid wrong expectations. And then he wrote “So, how will you help me?” and said what he also needs, unfortunately in a quiet aggressive tone. 

The difference between the bis NGOs and us is that we definitely cannot help - even though we wish, that we still care about single people, although we see the big number of refugees, still trying to see the single individuals, that we are not payed for our work and that we are still replying messages like that… at least up to a certain point.


50 sleeping bags are not so much, compared to all the people who have to survive in the streets. But it is a good start.

THANK YOU, everyone who still donates me money for our work here. We still need support and solidarity from abroad!




It is always strange... to have these conversations “Take care, it is not safe anymore, so many foreigners…” – when I reply that “unsafe” and “foreigners” is not an unavoidable combination, when they notice by my accent that I am also a foreigner, they turn to this: “30 years ago it was so different, we even did not lock our doors.” – and I reply “Well, the world changed” to get out of that discussion. 

Our governments force the people to live in the streets and to lose their humanity and dignity in overcrowded and inhumane camps. To lose dignity means also an impact on the behavior of people. To lose humanity means you do what you did not do before. This is not a plea for stealing. This is the reality.


„I don’t want to work with refugees anymore.”

I hear this so many times from people who worked for years in that field in Thessaloniki. I am sad, because most of them did a good job. But they are tired. I always ask why. It shouldn’t be that way. 

There should be more people. More competent people. They should be paid. Better. They should have contracts for more than a few months. And they should have a proper accompaniment. They should have supervision and psychological support. No one really has.

“I don’t want to work with refugees anymore”, many people tell me – also many of the people who still do. I can see that they are at their limits. 

We know that co-traumatization is as serious as traumatization. In Greece there is no time and no money to care for those who care…


I cannot understand how people can say "I don't see refugees". Every time I am wondering how they manage it... today, on my way to the overland-bus station I saw them everywhere: in the streets, in cafes close to the abandoned buildings where they are living, at the main station, everywhere... tired, on their unknown ways, frozen during these suddenly colder days. With a small backpack or a plastic bag. 

So many. So so many.


I know her since a while. Since one year or so we also can have deeper conversations, because she doesn’t speak English, but my Greek is now good enough that we can share our thoughts. Two times I also translated a conversation between a German and her. Many times we organized together visits in the Refugee Day Center. Today she was speaking to the visiting group so clear and also so angry like I never heard her. And I liked it.

“77.000 refugees in Greece and Europe let us alone.” – “For Europe we are not in an emergency situation anymore, but for us, nothing has changed, quite the contrary, it is getting worse.” – “We are trying to do every day our best but it is never enough”. - "What do you think about the situation? You also think that everything is over?" - 

And so on. She was angry and clear and I loved her for that. 

She expressed exactly what I feel. 

And I feel with every day closer with the Greek people than with the European ones, where in every group at least one person has to reply to all these facts “Yes, but the Greek government…” 

Some are always lamenting, some are acting. We have to act and are not able to waste time and energy in lamenting. Welcome to Greece.


Some of our friends managed it to get jobs in NGOs as translators. Kurdish, Arabic, Urdu. I am glad for them – despite the fact that they complain after a few weeks because, well, work is work, and yes, all of us we are tired in the evening.

Through them, we get now more informed about the situation of refugees in Thessaloniki, because the organisations always know new situations very quick. We always know that we have to handle these information with care and that in between there are many rumours, but we also know that – also with the new government – we have to face for the next months a (even more) rough time.


… 2000 people will be sent from Thessaloniki to the islands and to small towns far away from the big cities all over Greece.

… the police knows where the people are staying in the streets and who has papers and who doesn’t. They know when and where to catch them.

… a lot of Pakistan guys have been sent to Pakistan, but there they don’t accept them, if they don’t have passports. So they are not allowed to enter the country. Where they will end up? In a Pakistan prison? Back in Turkey? In Greece? We don’t know.

… if your apply for asylum is rejected, you cannot lodge an appeal anymore. The decision is fact. Many people are rejected very quick these days.


We are afraid.

One of our friends is still waiting for his asylum-decision.

We will fight for him.


We are tired.

It is easy for the new government to enact laws without resistance from the people. There is no energy after more than 10 years of economical crisis and 5 years of the arrival of thousands and thousands of refugees in Greece.


We are angry.

These people on the flee are human beeings and they have to live – in Thessaloniki, in the North of Greece and on the islands – in inhumane conditions. 

Europe still doesn’t care. After all these years. And we really don’t know what will be there for the future.


…At least some of our friends found these jobs as translators and can improve their skills. This is anyhow a good thing for the future.


I tried to avoid a text about the situation in Kurdistan these days.

It bothers me these days.

The story of Kurdistan is a story that I have concern since about 30 years.

I heard from the chemical attack on the irakian kurdish „Bloody Friday“ as a 15 year old, politically interested girl.

In my first interculturel theatre projects in Munich I had kurdish participants who had fled from the Kurdish-Turkish conflict, and I started to understand the dilemma: they havn‘t been Turks, but in Germany they saw them as turkish migrants not as kurdish refugees

Later I always felt in solidarity with the kurdish people, because I always feel closer to the oppressed than to the oppressors. In the same time (like in many conflict zones), I cannot accept armed resistance, because I cannot - my personal attitude - accept force of arms at all.

Since people fled Syrian war I met a lot of Kurds, in Munich and in Thessaloniki. Still there are many kurds in Thessaloniki, waiting for family reunification - or a miracle.

Now, again, Kurdistan is a plaything in the game of the mighty. I am sorry for them, sorry for my kurdish friends and for their relatives, for their people. I can see that they are shocked after all the pain they already had to stand. They fled their homes that turned to war zone and left Turkey to feel safe.

Now „We will open the gates and send 3,6 million refugees to Europe.“ - The EU has to decide if they call the current attack against the Kurds as a „military incursion“ or as an „occupation.“ And they have to decide if they are at least a little bit a Union or really only a loose coalition.

We know where the refugees will come. Not „to Europe“, but to Greece. A country with a difficult history concerning the relation with Turkey. A country full with refugees on the islands and in the two big cities. A country in an economic crisis - and only some months before winter is coming.

Poor people. Poor Kurdistan. And shame on Europe after all these years of indifferrence towards the neighbouring country of Turkey, only divided in the north by a river and in the east by some kilometer Mediterranean Sea.


Begin of this week, in the middle of my dental treatment my dentist asked me “Did you hear about the fire in Moria camp yesterday?”. I answered something like “xrxrexrexre”, or what you can say with the mouth wide open and a lot of instruments inside… “Have you been there, hmm? You saw it with your own eyes, hmm?” he said. “xrxrexrexre”.

Later we talked like 10 minutes about the situation in the streets of Thessaloniki, the Refugee Day Center, what we need, if he can bring collected toys and clothes. About the medical care he asked, and even now after the treatment with my empty mouth I could not say so much. “Do you need dentists?” he asked – reminding me of all the black teeth in the camp where we used to go. Unfortunately the system is made not for but against the people. Europe, and so Greece tries to make the situation for refugees as uncomfortable as possible. So: No doctors, no dentists, as less help as possible in the camps, in the streets. 

A few things we spoke, until he said “Stop it…” – and I know that feeling: I don’t want to listen anymore. It overwhelms me. Since years.

…so glad about everyone who is asking, caring, thinking, becoming desperate, because he / she is listening to what is happening. Too many people don’t wanna know. Overwhelms me even more!


I am definitively in: open the islands!

Close the so called „Hot-spots“.

It's enough! Since years!

But we need more. 

What will happen with the people coming to the mainland in a country in an economic crisis with a right government? 

We are waiting for more people in the streets and I am sad for them, desperated for us and tired as myself.

Europe, give the freedom of movement.

(I am definitely more in!)


We have been sitting in the office, working on different projects, me in the last days of preparation of an international project meeting about artists with special needs.

Suddenly three children and a man have been everywhere in our small office, the woman a bit behind her husband. Syrian? Kurdish? Irakian? I don‘t know. Camp-english.

„Are you an organisation?“ he asked. „I have a wife, three children, since more than one year I am in Greece and I don‘t have anything.“

Ach... well, sorry... too many people, too many stories... if he is living with his brother but not officially how he said, the Day center would help him. He said, they are not. If they will not, I guess his family has any organisation supporting them.

But... however. He has not enough. It is not enough for anyone. I know it and I hate it. 

I am so sorry for that, but I have to say very clear that I don‘t like to have suddenly people in the office who tell us that we don‘t do enough. 

Maybe I don‘t want to listen because I can‘t listen all this stories anymore. Maybe because I know that many stories are wrong. And maybe because also my days only have 24 hours.


The victims of the Dublin III law are the people on the flee and the countries at the borders. The only official way for all the refugees who arrive every day is to apply for asylum here. To apply for asylum means you need papers. Greece is overwhelmed with the situation. Every day a bit more.

In Thessaloniki since a few days there is a new way to get papers. People don‘t camp anymore outside of the police stations. People found a new way: They go in a restaurant. They eat. When the time comes to pay, they say „We don‘t have money, call the police.“

Because Greek people are so hospitable, they say „It‘s Ok, you are our guests.“, but they say „No no, please, call the police.“ My friend said „And then they said „thank you so much for calling the police, when we will find work, we will come and give you the money back“. It was the first time that someone said to me „thank you for calling the police.““

It‘s a wrong world. Not easy to live in it. For no one who is aware.


In Germany they speak these days about how big the mistake has been to open the borders in September 2015. I just saw an inhuman documentary about it from there...

In Greece we still try to cope with all the people who are arriving. Without enough help from the government, help from Europe.

This is not my Europe. This is not my concept of humanity. 

We are tired. And we are angry.

...and while I am writing this, more people are on their way to Greece.


I never thought how much the content of a washing machine reflects the life of people.

One Shorts, 2 shirts, two different socks, one underpants, a pair of shoes and a backpack.

Meanwhile the guys are waiting with the few other things they own in a plastic bag and borrowed slippers for the food.

Sometimes it’s heartbreaking.


Ich habe niemals darüber nachgedacht wie sehr der Inhalt einer Waschmaschine das Leben von Menschen wiederspiegelt.

Eine kurze Hose, 2 T-shirts, zwei verschiedene Socken, eine Unterhose, ein paar Schuhe und ein Rucksack.

Währenddessen warten die Jungs mit den übrigen paar Habseligkeiten in einer Plastiktüte und ausgeborgten Hausschuhe auf das Essen.

Manchmal ist es herzzerreißend.


We cannot know how it feels to be on the flee. At the end of the day we go home in our homes.

We only can try to understand and to react humane but authentic. And sometimes there is joy, and sometimes there is anger.

I am still thankful for the guy with a lot of wounds and a stitched eyebrow after a fight in the streets (“They have been so much”) who took a shower and asked me afterwards “Please, tell me how I can help. I want to help you cleaning the shower.” 

We are human beings. They are human beings. By accident we are “here” and they are “there”. 

It is not about charity. It is about solidarity and humanity!


Wir können nicht wissen wie es sich anfühlt auf der Flucht zu sein. Wir können nur versuchen zu verstehen und menschlich und authentisch reagieren. Und manchmal ist da Freude und manchmal ist da Wut.

Ich bin noch immer dankbar für den jungen Mann mit einer Menge Wunden und einer genähten Augenbraue nach einer Prügelei auf der Straße („Sie waren so viele“) der zum Duschen kam und hinterher fragte: „Bitte, sag mir wie ich helfen kann. Ich möchte helfen die Dusche sauberzumachen.“

Wir sind Menschen. Sie sind Menschen. Zufällig sind wir „hier“ und sie sind „da“.

Es geht nicht um Wohltätigkeit. Es geht um Solidarität und Menschlichkeit!


The last weeks we were cutting not so nice trousers and sewing them to have kind of shorts for all the men who are arriving from Syria, Irak, Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan… they are never enough, as well as my time and energy to fold them and put them back to the shelf to give the guys at least the feeling that we care…

Sometimes I am begging, sometimes I am shouting, sometimes I am silently becoming desperate when I see how they are able to disarrange everything in a few minutes (btw. 2 or 3 women can do that in the same room, at other shelves in only a few seconds…)

And sometimes in front of that shelf we have good conversations about life. Life in the streets, life as a refugee, life in Greece and in their home countries, life in general. And sometimes they are also helping to fix again everything for the next people who will come and who will not find what they need, because the few cut and sewed trousers are never enough…


In den vergangenen Wochen haben wir nicht so schöne Hosen abgeschnitten und umgenäht zu einer Art Shorts für all die Männer die aus Syrien, Irak, Afghanistan, Algerien, Pakistan... ankommen. Es sind nie genug, so wenig wie meine Zeit und Energie sie immer wieder neu zu falten und sie zurück ins Regal zu legen, um den Jungs wenigstens das Gefühl zu vermitteln, dass wir uns bemühen...

Manchmal bitte ich, manchmal schreie ich und manchmal verzweifle ich still wenn ich sehe, wie sie in der Lage sind in wenigen Minuten alles durcheinanderzubringen (nebenbei gesagt, 2 oder 3 Frauen können das im gleichen Raum, an anderen Regalen in wenigen Sekunden vollbringen...)

Und manchmal haben wir vor genau diesem Regal gute Gespräche über das Leben auf der Straße, auf der Flucht, das Leben in Griechenland, in ihren Heimatländern, das Leben grundsätzlich. Und manchmal helfen sie mir dann alles wieder in Ordnung zu bringen, bevor die nächsten Leute kommen, die nicht das finden werden was sie brauchen, denn ein paar abgeschnittene und umgenähte Hosen reichen nie aus...


„I try to treat everyone the same“, said my colleague. „But...“

And the we discussed that it was right to give the young small lonely guy with obviously so much pain in his small feet and legs new shoes, because we have enough shoes in his size. That it was right to give the family who has a cash card clothes and shoes and the same like the family who doesn‘t have. That is was right to sew very quick the jeans for the boy who did not find his size but wanted to have again a pair of jeans.


Because there are rules. But there are always exceptions, because we are human beings and not machines. And in between all these bad behaving people we just appreciate a lovely polite family. A young boy who tries to use his few words in Greek and his excellent English. A guy („I am maybe 19 or 20“) who has pain but still doesn’t really ask for something and says a million times „thank you“ when he left. A guy after the shower who looked not only like a new person, but also has been grateful. The small boy who loved his new shoes and could not stop showing me how beautiful they are. 

These people show us that they understood that we try to treat them dignified.

Everyone deserves dignity. 

We also. Even if we cannot give all these people what they need. But we try. At least.


“Ich versuche jede*n gleich zu behandeln“, sagte meine Kollegin. „Aber...“

Und dann sprachen wir darüber dass es richtig war dem kleinen einsamen Jungen mit offensichtlich wahnsinnigen Schmerzen in seinen kleinen Füßen und den Beinen neue Schuhe zu geben, weil wir genug Schuhe in ebenseiner ungewöhnlich kleinen Grüße haben. Dass es richtig war, der Familie die eine Geldkarte hat Kleidung und Schuhe und das gleiche zu geben wie den Familien, die keine haben. Dass es richtig war, dem Jungen der seine Größe nicht fand, aber endlich einmal wieder Jeans haben wollte, ein paar Jeans schnell umzunähen.


Weil es Regeln gibt. Und weil es immer Ausnahmen gibt, weil wir Menschen sind und keine Maschinen. Und weil wir in all diesem schlechten Benehmen es einfach wertschätzen wenn eine freundliche höfliche Familie kommt. Wenn ein Junge seine paar griechischen Wörter die er gelernt hat versucht anzuwenden und sein ausgezeichnetes Englisch. Wenn ein junger Mann („Ich bin vielleicht 19 oder 20) der Schmerzen hat dennoch nicht wirklich um etwas bittet, und dann tausendmal „danke“ sagt als er geht. Wenn ein Typ nach der Dusche nicht nur wie ein neuer Mensch aussieht, sondern einfach auch dankbar ist. Der kleine Junge, der seine neuen Schuhe so sehr mochte, dass er gar nicht aufhören konnte zu zeigen, wie schön sie sind.

Diese Menschen zeigen uns, dass sie verstanden haben, dass wir versuchen sie in Würde zu behandeln.

Jeder und jede verdient Würde.

Wir auch. Auch wenn wir all diesen Menschen nicht das geben können was sie brauchen. Aber wir versuchen es. Wenigstens das.


Here he stood. A young pakistan guy who helped us now a few times with the sewing. „I have to tell you something“, he said. With emotions I could not read immediately... and then he told me about the fight in his camp („out of Thessaloniki, I don‘t know the name“) the night before: „And you know, the two groups had knives. Long knifes like that.“ - and he showed me 40cm. And told me how the police came and everyone ran away into the streets of the city where he heard about it. And how the security closed the camp now for everyone, except families. „But what can we do now? We have to stay in the streets.“, he said. And then I could read in his face sadness, fear, hopelessness.The Refugee Day Center, where I met him, is closed now for four days. We will see if we can see the impact of that new politics - and yes, I am thinking about people beeing payed to start a fight in the camps to implement more easily the idea of closed camps only for families... - already on Monday with more homeless people...


Hier stand er. Ein junger Mann aus Pakistan, der uns jetzt ein paar Mal beim Nähen geholfen hatte. „Ich muss dir was erzählen“, sagte er. Mit Gefühlen, die ich nicht sofort lesen konnte... und dann erzählte er mir von dem Kampf in seinem Camp („außerhalb Thessalonikis, ich kenne den Namen nicht.“) in der Nacht zuvor: „Und weißt du, die beiden Gruppen hatten Messer. Lange Messer, so lang.“ – und er zeigte mir 40cm Länge. Und erzählte mir wie die Polizei kam und jeder wegrannte in die Straßen der Stadt, wo auch er dann davon hörte. Und wie die Security die Camps jetzt für jeden geschlossen hat, außer für Familien. „Aber was können wir jetzt tun? Wir müssen in den Straßen bleiben.“, sagte er. Und dann konnte ich in seinem Gesicht Traurigkeit, Angst und Hoffnungslosigkeit lesen.

Das Tageszentrum für Menschen auf der Flucht, wo ich ihn getroffen habe, ist nun für vier Tage geschlossen. Wir werden sehen ob wir die Auswirkungen dieser neuen Politik – und ja, ich denke darüber nach dass Menschen bezahlt werden Kämpfe in den Camps zu beginnen, um die Idee der geschlossenen Camps nur für Familien leichter umsetzen zu können – bereits am Montag sehen werden mit mehr obdachlosen Menschen...


I came to Greece because I had two free weeks. There has been Idomeni Camp. I came back again. And once more. To work with refugees and the people who worked with them.

Then I moved to Thessaloniki. Because of many reasons. Definitely not only because of „the refugees“.

I am still working in "the refugee field". But my life became much more rich. Refugees are a part of my life, because you cannot live in Greece without caring about these people. But my life is more. So much more.

Germans like "drawers", they like to put everything, everyone at it's place. For most of them I am here „to work with refugees“.

Life doesn't work that way. Life in Greece doesn't.

Yes. I came to Greece because there has been Idomeni Camp. And I came back. 

And then, the last two years I built my life. Learned the language. Found friends. An apartment. Work. A life. My life.


Ich kam nach Griechenland weil ich zwei freie Wochen hatte. Da war Idomeni Camp. Ich kam wieder. Und noch einmal. Um mit Menschen auf der Flucht zu arbeiten und mit den Menschen, die mit ihnen arbeiteten.

Dann zog ich nach Thessaloniki. Aus vielerlei Gründen. Sicher nicht nur wegen „der Flüchtlinge“.

Ich arbeite noch immer „in der Flüchtlingshilfe“. Aber mein Leben ist so viel reicher geworden.

Menschen auf der Flucht sind noch immer ein Teil meines Lebens, weil du in Griechenland auch nicht leben kannst ohne dich um diese Menschen zu bemühen. Aber mein Leben ist mehr. So viel mehr.

Deutsche lieben Schubladen, in die alles und jede*r an seinen / ihren Platz kommt. Für die meisten von ihnen bin ich hier „um mit Flüchtlingen zu arbeiten“.

Das Leben funktioniert so nicht. Das Leben in Griechenland funktioniert so nicht.

Ja, ich kam nach Griechenland, weil hier Idomeni Camp war. Und ich kam wieder. 

Und dann, in den vergangenen zwei Jahren, habe ich mir mein Leben aufgebaut. Habe die Sprache gelernt. Freund*innen gefunden. Eine Wohnung. Arbeit. Ein Leben. Mein Leben.


It’s a win-win-situation: The international volunteers love to sit behind the desk and to check the computer. I love to be everywhere, to do different things, to be close to the people, without a desk. So it works perfectly.

It’s August. Since four years now I am involved in exactly this: “No, we don’t have shorts, neither t-shirts.” – “Sorry, I cannot give you shoes.” – “You family? English? Français? Junani?” – “I know, 5 children, wife pregnant. But we don’t have pampers Nr.4…”

Today someone stole some pairs of shoes from the warehouse where the people don’t have access. We don’t know what happened. I tried to find women’s trousers to cut and sew them to men’s shorts. I played with some traumatized children – something I really love.

Today like every day: People who understand that we try our best. People who are able to make a big mess in only a few minutes. People who are happy that someone speaks French. People who don’t accept the rules. People. Human beings.

“That’s the mentality, they are not polite”, said a woman from Algeria about her countrymen. – “I don’t know about the mentality. I guess it is the situation everyone is in.”

It’s a loose-loose-situation: most of the visitors today at the Refugee Day Center did not find what they needed. And we know that the next months will be even rougher.


Es ist eine Win-Win-Situation: Die internationalen Freiwilligen lieben es hinter dem Tresen am Computer zu sitzen. Ich liebe es, überall zu sein, verschiedene Sachen zu machen, nahe an den Menschen zu sein, ohne Tresen zwischen uns. So funktioniert es perfekt.

Es ist August. Seit vier Jahren bin ich in genau das involviert: „Nein, wir haben keine Shorts. Auch keine T-shirts.“ – „Sorry, ich kann dir keine Schuhe geben.“ – „You familiy? Englisch? Französisch? Griechisch?“ – „Ich weiß, 5 Kinder, die Frau schwanger. Wir haben dennoch keine Pampers Nr.4...“

Heute hat jemand ein paar Schuhe aus dem hinteren Lagerraum gestohlen, zu dem die Leute eigentlich keinen Zugang haben. Wir wissen nicht was passiert ist. Ich habe versucht Frauenhosen zu finden um sie umzunähen zu Männershorts. Ich habe mit ein paar traumatisierten Kinder gespielt – etwas was ich wirklich liebe.

Heute wie jeder Tag: Menschen, die verstehen dass wir unser Besten versuchen. Menschen, die es schaffen eine riesige Unordnung innerhalb weniger Minuten zu schaffen. Menschen, die glücklich sind dass jemand Französisch spricht. Menschen, die die Regeln nicht akzeptieren. Menschen...

„Das ist die Mentalität. Sie sind nicht höflich.“, sagte eine Frau aus Algerien über ihre Landsleute. – „Ich weiß nichts über die Mentalität. Ich schätze es ist eher die Situation, in der sich alle befinden.“

Es ist eine Verlust-Verlust-Situation: Die meisten der Besucher*innen des Tageszentrums für Menschen auf der Flucht haben nicht gefunden was sie brauchten. Und wir wissen dass es die kommenden Monate noch schwieriger werden wird. 


There are these people in our city…

…the guy who lives in the camp and who needs food. He tries to study Greek and English. It is hard if the camp is far away with two busses reachable, and it isn’t a dignified place at all. He said he is hungry and he is thinking where he can get food, where he can cook. We had some ideas, hopefully he will take one of them.

… the guy who needs trousers, a T-shirt, a pair of socks and shoes. He is living in the streets. He says people steal him everything. Some people repeat that with a “maybe it is true”. I guess it is. The struggle to survive in the streets of our town is getting tougher. We could help him with a set of new clothes.

…the guy who tries again to get asylum after he got the rejection already once. He waited yesterday in the asylum office, only to hear that he has to wait one more month. With the new government it became even more unlikely for him to get asylum. All we can do is to listen his fear and to hope.

These people are only some of many – and more. Every day more.


Es gibt da diese Menschen in unserer Stadt...

...der junge Mann, der im Camp lebt und Essen braucht. Er versucht griechisch und englisch zu lernen. Es ist schwer für ihn, denn das Camp ist weit entfernt, nur mit zwei Bussen zu erreichen und es ist ein unwürdiger Ort. Er sagt er hat Hunger und wir überlegen von woher er Essen bekommen kann, wo er kochen kann, Wir hatten ein paar Ideen, hoffentlich kann er eine davon verwenden.

... der Mann der Hosen, ein T-shirt, ein paar Socken und Schuhe. Er lebt auf der Straße. Er sagt seine Sachen wurden ihm gestohlen. Manche Menschen erzählen das mit den zusätzlichen Worten „kann sein dass es stimmt.“ Ich denke es stimmt. Der Kampf auf der Straße wird rauher. Wir konnten ihm mit einem Set neuer Sachen helfen.

... der junge Mann, der noch einmal versucht Asyl zu bekommen, nachdem er die Ablehnung bereits bekommen hatte. Er wartete gestern im Asylbüro, nur um dann zu hören dass er noch einmal einen Monat warten muss. Mit der neuen Regierung  ist es noch unwahrscheinlicher für ihn geworden, dass er Asyl bekommt. Alles was wir tun können ist seiner Angst zuzuhören und zu hoffen.

Diese Menschen sind ein paar von so vielen – und mehreren. Jeden Tag mehr.


I found a note on my door: There is a problem from your balcony down to ours. Please call us. I hate calling people, so I went downstairs. A office for furnished apartments, they rent there.

After a while of chatting I heard about the Pakistan guys, living in the house across: A woman, living since years with a Pakistan husband, left to Crete and gave her apartment to two Pakistan young men for free. We all know these stories: Two became twenty who share the few rooms. And they are loud. Every day and every night they are loud. Of course. Too many people, and I guess not clever enough to understand that to be quiet would help to stay in the house.

Instead, the police is coming now very often and the residents hate them.

… we need proper houses for refugees. If they don’t live anymore in the streets, they will not invite others to share the rare apartments.

… we need the freedom of movements. If people can leave the European border countries, smugglers will not take their money anymore, will not squeeze too many people in a small place to bring them towards Europe.

… we need more ideas how to integrate and include people. It’s hard to see how people empathise less and less.

Btw: the problem with the water did not come from my balcony…


Ich fand eine Notiz an meiner Tür: Es gibt bei uns unten ein Problem von deinem Balkon her. Bitte ruf uns an. Ich hasse es zu telefonieren, also ging in hinunter. Ein Büro für möblierte Wohnungen, die sie hier vermieten.

Nach einem kurzen Gespräch erzählten sie mir von den pakistanischen Jungs, die im Haus gegenüber wohnen: Eine Frau, die seit Jahren mit ihrem pakistanischen Mann dort gewohnt hatte, ging nach Kreta und gab das Apartment umsonst an zwei pakistanische Männer. Wir alle kennen diese Geschichten: Aus zwei wurden zwanzig die die paar Zimmer teilen. Und sie sind laut. Jeden Tag und jede Nacht sind sie laut. Natürlich. Zu viele Leute, und ich schätze nicht clever genug um zu verstehen, dass es helfen würde leise zu sein, um in dem Haus bleiben zu können.

Statt dessen kommt die Polizei nun oft und die Bewohner*innen hassen sie.

...wir brauchen vernünftige Wohnungen für Geflüchtete. Wenn sie nicht mehr auf der Straße leben müssen, werden sie nicht mehr so viele andere in die raren Wohnung einladen um dort zu wohnen.

...wir brauchen die Freiheit dorthin zu gehen, wo man will.  Wenn Menschen die europäischen Grenzstaaten verlassen können, werden Menschenschleuser nicht mehr ihr Geld nehmen und zu viele Menschen in eine viel zu kleine Wohnung quetschen, um sie dann Richtung Europa zu bringen.

...wir brauchen mehr Ideen wie wir Menschen integrieren und inkludieren können. Es ist schwer zu sehen, wie Menschen hier weniger und weniger Verständnis haben.

Nebenbei gesagt: das Problem mit dem Wasser kam nicht von meinem Balkon...


A friend went to the tax office. He took a number – like everyone does. He waited – like everyone does. He went in the office when he saw finally his number. The lady asked for the passport, then for the ID card (and I see and hear her, I guess one of these people, speaking no foreign language and having not a little patience for foreigners who try hard, but are… foreigners, in a foreign country with a foreign language… oh, I experienced that so often the last two years). He showed his refugee residence card for lack of other papers.

“You have to wait outside, until the Greek clients are ready.” The lady said.

We know what that means: many numbers will not get what they need at the end, the one who has to wait “until the Greek clients are ready” will have wasted a morning and will come the next day again.

“Luckily” there has been another refugee one day after a difficult surgery, trying to get a number which would allow him to go back to the hospital, slumped in his chair, also with the “Greeks first” statement, so my friend could not stand that and fought for his rights – and got finally also his one’s.


Ein Freund ging ins Finanzamt. Er zog eine Nummer – wie es jeder tut. Er wartete – wie es jeder tut. Er ging ins Büro, als er endlich seine Nummer sah. Die Dame fragte nach seinem Pass, dann nach seinem Ausweis (Ich sehe und höre sie, ich schätze, eine dieser Personen die keine Fremdsprache sprechen und kein bisschen Geduld für Fremde haben, die es zwar sehr versuchen, aber eben... Fremde sind, in einem fremden Land mit einer Fremdsprache... oh, ich habe das so oft in den vergangenen zwei Jahren erlebt...). Er zeigte, in Ermangelung an anderen Papieren, seinen Ausweis der seinen Aufenthalt als Flüchtlings zeigt.

„Du musst draußen warten, bis die Griech*innen dran waren.“ Sagte die Dame.

Wir wissen alle was das bedeutet: Viele Nummern werden gar nicht mehr drankommen und am Ende wird derjenige, der warten muss „bis die Griech*innen dran waren“ den Vormittag verschwendet haben und am nächsten Tag wiederkommen.

„Glücklicherweise“ hing dort auf einem Stuhl ein anderer Geflüchteter, einen Tag nach einer schwierigen Operation, um eine bestimmte Nummer zu bekommen, die es ihm erlaubt wieder ins Krankenhaus zu gehen. Er ebenfalls mit der „Griech*innen zuerst“ Aussage. Mein Freund hielt das nicht aus, und kämpfte für dessen Rechte – und bekam am Ende auch noch seine eigenen.


After a long day from Northern Europe to Thessaloniki, after a long queue for the passport control, after finally getting out of the airport… I took a taxi and did not wait for the bus in that later evening… the same: Where are you actually from, you like Thessaloniki, oh you work with refugees… and then: Why are they all leaving their country, the other European countries are not interested in the refugees arrivals in Greece (right this one!), they should go back in their countries, they get so much money (wrong), they get children because the children get a Greek passport when they are born (superwrong!!). 

…a young guy with headphones in his ear crossed the red light in the dark the big Egnatia Street between all the moving cars. “Look, a refugee!”, the driver said. I was so tired, I am so tired to discuss this again and again. 

A nice guy the driver. But unfortunately slowly slowly the mood changes in Greece.


Nach einem langen Tag aus Nordeuropa nach Thessaloniki, nach einer langen Warteschlange für die Passkontrolle, nachdem ich endlich raus aus dem Flughafen war... nahm ich ein Taxi und wartete nicht auf den Bus an diesem späteren Abend... das gleiche: Wo bist du ursprünglich her, magst du Thessaloniki, oh du arbeitest mit Geflüchteten... und dann: Warum verlassen die alle ihr Land, die anderen europäischen Staaten sind nicht interessiert an den Menschen auf der Flucht die in Griechenland ankommen (das ist richtig!), sie sollten zurückgehen in ihre Länder, sie bekommen so viel Geld (falsch), and sie bekommen Kinder weil die Kinder einen griechischen Pass bekommen wenn sie hier geboren werden (superfalsch!!). 

...ein junger Mann mit Kopfhörern in den Ohren überquerte die Straße bei rot im Dunkeln an der großen Egnatia Straße zwischen all den fahrenden Autos. „Schau! Ein Flüchtling!“, sagte der Fahrer. Ich war so müde, ich bin so müde es immer und immer wieder zu diskutieren.

Ein netter Mann der Fahrer. Aber leider kippt die Stimmung in Griechenland langsam langsam.


When I went to Ireland last week, I have been so self-absorbed in my fear of flying, as well as in the passport-control I had to do as I was travelling to a non-Schengen-country, that I did not see the other passengers…

When the aircraft stood in Dublin airport and people wanted to get their luggage, the cabin crew announced “please remain seated”. Well, I never understood, why people prefer to stand around instead of waiting seated until they can leave the airplane, and actually I was so relieved that I survived the flight without misbehaving, that I – still – did not think about the other passengers…

And then it went quick: Police officers arrived, took the poor refugee – and we could leave.

He made it to the UK, he thought. He passed with his (I guess wrong) passport through the check in Thessaloniki. He made the flight. He arrived in Ireland (close to his family I guess), only to get arrested.

I don’t know what the procedure is: Will he be sent back to Greece? To Turkey? Or in his own country? 

For the border police, for Europe a good catch today. For the guy a loss of a lot of money and the day when his dreams of a normal life disappeared. For me a sad episode and also a kind of normality: leaving Thessaloniki, arriving in Munich airport, messages from Bosnia and Croatia… all these people who try to leave and who fall into a trap…

Kind of normality and also a sad episode. Very sad. Sad for all the people who get stuck here, in the country where I decided to live – they didn’t. In the country I can leave whenever I want – they can’t.


Als ich vergangene Woche nach Irland flog, war ich so mit mir selbst beschäftigt durch meine Angst zu fliegen, genau so wie durch die Passkontrolle, die ich machen musste, weil ich in ein Nicht-Schengen-Land flog. Dadurch nahm ich die anderen Passagiere gar nicht wahr.

Als das Flugzeug in Dublin stand und die Leute ihr Gepäck aus den Fächern holen wollten, riefen die Flugbegleiterinnen „Bitte bleiben Sie sitzen“. Nun, ich habe nie verstanden, warum die Leute es bevorzugen herumzustehen anstatt sitzend zu warten, bis sie das Flugzeug verlassen können, und um ehrlich zu sein, ich war so erleichtert dass ich den Flug ohne aus der Rolle zu fallen überlebt hatte, dass ich – noch immer – nicht über die anderen Passagiere nachdachte...

Und dann ging es schnell: Die Polizei kam, nahm den armen Geflüchteten – und wir konnten raus.

Er hat es bis nach Großbritannien geschafft, dachte er. Er hat die Passkontrolle mit seinem (ich denke falschen) Pass in Thessaloniki geschafft. Er hat den Flug geschafft. Er kam in Irland an (in die Nähe seiner Familie, denke ich), nur um dort festgenommen zu werden.

Ich weiß nicht, wie die Prozedur aussieht: Wird er zurück nach Griechenland geschickt? In die Türkei? Oder in sein eigenes Land?

Für die Grenzpolizei, für Europa war es ein guter Fang. Für den Mann ein Verlust von einer Menge Geld und der Tag, an dem seine Träume von einem normalen Leben zerplatzten. Für mich eine traurige Episode und auch eine Art Normalität: Abfliegen von Thessaloniki, in München am Flughafen ankommen, Nachrichten aus Bosnien und Kroatien... all diese Menschen die versuchen das Land zu verlassen und die in eine Falle geraten...

Eine Art Normalität, aber auch eine traurige Episode. Sehr traurig. Traurig für all diese Menschen, die hier hängenbleiben in dem Land in dem ich entschieden habe, dass ich hier leben will – sie haben es nicht entschieden. In dem Land, das ich verlassen kann, wann immer ich kann – sie können das nicht.


Whenever I am going to the seaside I am looking for calmness. Time for myself, reading, swimming, dozing. 

You can imagine that an arabic extended family beside me can turn the day off into a nightmare: screaming from the beach to the sea in arabic, screaming and crying babies and small children, the language the opposite of a lullaby...

The maybe 7year old girl in the water was shouting for minutes after her mother to show her how she can swim. She did it right in front of me. She shouted in front of me. Don‘t imagine my thoughts...

When a little while later I decided to go a last time in the water before escaping the former quiet place, I heard her and her brother playing together. In Greek. With a strong accent. With short sentences. But the play-language was Greek. All I could think in that moment was „They maybe can build their lifes here.“ and I forgot the anger I had before - at least until one of the guys called them for the meal. Too loud! Too loud... 

I left, hoping Europe is doing more and more to include at least the next generation in the society.


Immer wenn ich ans Meer fahre, suche ich Ruhe. Zeit für mich, Zeit um zu lesen, zu schwimmen, zu dösen.

Man kann sich vorstellen dass eine arabische Großfamilie neben mit den freien Tag in einen Albtraum verwandeln kann: Vom Strand zum Meer schreien, schreiende und weinende Babys und Kleinkinder, die Sprache das Gegenteil von einem Wiegenlied...

Das vielleicht 7 Jahre alte Mädchen im Wasser schrie minutenlang nach ihrer Mutter, um ihr zu zeigen, wie sie schwimmen kann. Sie schrie direkt neben mir... Man stellt sich besser nicht meine Gedanken vor...

Als ich mich kurze Zeit später dazu entschloss, ein letztes Mal ins Wasser zu gehen, bevor ich dem vormals ruhigen Platz entfliehen würde, hörte ich sie und ihren Bruder miteinander spielen. Auf griechisch. Mit starkem Akzent, In kurzen Sätzen. Aber die Spielsprache war griechisch. Alles was ich in diesem Moment denken konnte, war „Vielleicht werden sie es schaffen und sich hier ein Leben aufbauen.“ Und ich vergaß meinen vorherigen Ärger – zumindest solange bis die jungen Männer die Kinder zum Essen riefen. Zu laut! Zu laut...

Ich ging, darauf hoffend dass Europa mehr und mehr tut, um zumindest die nächste Generation in ihre Gesellschaft zu inkludieren.


This is not a „refugee crisis“. It‘s a racism crisis.


If we don‘t stop racist and nationalist tendencies, if we don‘t stop populists, we will face a real crisis!


#defendHumanity #defendSolidarity 

(... 3 days until the Greek elections...)

Solidarity with the Sea-Watch 3 captain from Thessaloniki.

...thankful for the one who had the idea and all the ones who joined us to make it reality...

Ευχαριστούμε Καρόλα
Solidarity from Thessaloniki / Greece
Ευχαριστούμε Καρόλα-2.mp4
MP3 Audio Datei 32.1 MB


What is "free"? 

If you are not in prison, not anymore in house arrest? 

What about that: your ship is still confiscated, you and your colleagues are still accused and all of you are facing financial penalty and prison.

What about: every day human beeings are dying in the Mediterrean Sea... what about: beeing humane is still a crime in Europe...

What is "free"...


A while ago I havn‘t been anymore around lunchtime at the Refugee Day Center.

Today I had to go down in the staircase the 3 floors along all the people waiting for the lunch. Waiting already one hour before, in order to get one of the 140 meals.

Outside the building there has been the end of the queue, which was getting longer every moment.

In Italy a captain has been arrested for saving life. In Greece nobody knows how it will go on without funds. In Europe a part of the civil society cares. European politicians, European rights don’t care. 

The guys try to get lunch. I don’t wanna think about all the people who will not get anymore one of the meals.


Ich bin eine ganze Weile nicht mehr um die Mittagessenszeit im Tageszentrum für Menschen auf der Flucht gewesen. Heute musste ich die drei Stockwerke die Treppe hinuntergehen, entlang all der Menschen, die auf das Mittagessen warteten. Bereits eine Stunde davor warteten um eine der 140 Mahlzeiten zu bekommen. Draußen vor dem Haus war das Ende der Schlange, die jeden Moment länger wurde.

In Italien wurde eine Kapitänin verhaftet weil sie Leben gerettet hat. In Griechenland weiß niemand wie es weitergehen wird, ohne weitere finanzielle Unterstützung. In Europa kümmert das einen Teil der Zivilgesellschaft. Europäische Politiker*innen und europäische Rechten ist es egal. 

Die Leute versuchen Essen zu bekommen. Ich möchte gar nicht an all die Menschen denken, die keines der Essen mehr abbekommen.


We know the people who stuck along the Balkan route. We know the people who die along the Balkan route. They have lived in Thessaloniki. 

We don’t know their parents who live somewhere else in a part of the world where life is not easy at all. We try to help at least to transfer the dead body to them. With people we know, with ideas how to organize it.

How much I would like to support the guys who have been around them and who are certainly traumatized. How much I would like to do something for everyone who is involved... well, except the guy who is the smuggler of these people between Greece and Northern Makedonia… but even for him..

European asylum politics kills people!

Rest in peace, καλό ταξίδι, Arshad Ali!


Wir kennen die Leute, die entlang der Balkan Route hängenbleiben. Wir kenne die Menschen, die entlang der Balkan Route sterben. Sie haben in Thessaloniki gelebt. 

Wir kennen ihre Eltern nicht, die in einem anderen Teil der Welt leben, wo das Leben nicht im Ansatz einfach ist. Wir versuchen wenigstens dabei zu helfen, den Leichnam zu ihnen zu bringen. Mit Menschen die wir kennen, mit Ideen die wir dafür haben.

Wie sehr würde ich gerne diejenigen unterstützen, die um ihn herum waren und die sicherlich traumatisiert sind. Wie sehr ich gerne jeden der involviert ist unterstützen werden... hmm, außer den Kerl, der der Schleuser der Leute zwischen Griechenland und Nordmazedonien ist...

Europäische Asylpolitik tötet Menschen!

Ruhe in Frieden Arshad Ali!


„I just stopped here because of your love“

Many times I don’t understand his insufficient English, but we understand each other better than many people can understand each other in the same native language.

A friend will visit him today. Well, “visit”… He is for one night in Thessaloniki from were the smuggler promise refugees to bring them to Germany. This friend anyhow did what so many people are doing: arriving from a dangerous or difficult country in Greece. Getting black work, getting bad payed, under bad conditions black work. Saving money and trying to leave the country.

“I just stopped here because of your love”

Our friend resisted every time when a group of people left the city, when people asked him to come with them, and he will resist tomorrow when his friend from his hometown will leave.

We discussed that a little bit that morning, and said that it needs power and energy and patience to wait for the asylum decision. And I told him again that we love him. And that’s what he replied:

„I just stopped here because of your love“


„Wegen eurer Liebe bin ich hier geblieben.“

Oftmals verstehe ich sein unzureichendes Englisch nicht, aber wir verstehen einander besser als sich viele Menschen verstehen, die die gleiche Muttersprache haben. Ein Freund besucht ihn heute. Obwohl, „besuchen“... Er ist für eine Nacht in Thessaloniki von wo aus die Schleuser ihm versprochen haben, ihn nach Deutschland zu bringen. Dieser Freund hat überhaupt das getan, was so viele Menschen tun: Aus einem gefährlichen oder schwierigen Land in Griechenland ankommen. Schwarzarbeit bekommen, schlecht bezahlte, unter miesen Bedingungen stattfindende Schwarzarbeit. Geld zu Seite legen um das Land zu verlassen.

„Wegen eurer Liebe bin ich hier geblieben.“

Unser Freund widerstand jedes Mal wenn eine Gruppe von Leuten die Stadt verließ, wenn Menschen ihm sagen, er solle mit ihnen kommen, und er wird auch morgen widerstehen, wenn der Freund aus seiner Heimatstadt losziehen wird.

Wir haben heute morgen ein bisschen darüber gesprochen, und haben gesagt dass es Kraft und Energie und Geduld benötigt um auf die Entscheidung für das Asyl zu warten. Und ich sagte ihm wieder dass wir ihn lieben.

Und das ist es was er mir antwortete:

„Wegen eurer Liebe bin ich hier geblieben.“


Sun without any shadow – air condition

Standing in a queue – nice waiting room

Hours and hours – 20 minutes (including a nice chat with the doorman)

Unsecurity – new ID card

My Pakistan friend went very early this morning to the Asylum office to renew his card, hoping that they also will give him the decision for his asylum (they didn't of course).

I went to the German consulate to pick up my new ID-card.

Same city, two human beeings, two worlds.

I feel sorry. And ashamed. Actually so so sorry.


(Photo from this morning, credits by my friend.)


Sonne ohne Schatten – Klimaanlage

In der Schlange stehen – ein netter Warteraum

Stunden über Stunden – 20 minuten (inklusive eines netten Gesprächs mit dem Pförtner)

Unsicherheit – neuer Personalausweis


Mein pakistanischer Freund ist heute sehr früh am Morgen zum Asylamt gefahren, um seine Aufenthaltskarte zu erneuern. Er hofft, dass sie ihm heute auch gleich die Entscheidung für seinen Asylantrag geben werden (haben sie natürlich nicht).

Ich bin ins deutsche Konsulat gefahren, um meine neue ID Karte abzuholen.

Gleiche Stadt, zwei Menschen, zwei Welten.

Es tut mir Leid. Und schäme mich. Tatsächlich tut es mir so so Leid.


(Photos von heute morgen, aufgenommen von meinem Freund)


Streets of Thessaloniki...

„This isn’t a good picture“ and “like dogs”, she said. The owner of a kiosk in the city center. A group of refugees kept waiting for food, that an organization is distributing since a few days at that place. I tried to argument a bit: But it is better than before when they sat down at the other place in the dust, so actually here at the pavement it is already an improvement. That it is not about pictures, but about help. That…

While waiting half an hour I realized the two groups: One of them who cleared the rubbish from the street and the other who did not care. Waiting there I saw the first time in my life the awkward situation that the young men - on the flee since they have been children, adolescents - were sitting at the sideline of the footpath, on the stairs of the building, in a row… and how they were checking the passerbies. Checking the girls, sometimes in an inappropriate way. The first time since I am working with people on the flee I realized a certain situation – and I did not like it.

We need houses for the people! We need work! We need the freedom of movement! We need the abolition of Dublin III! We need integration and inclusion! We need humanity! We need human beings meeting human beings, we need money to have facilities for people in needs…

These people are in needs… and we start slowly slowly to bring ourselves in distress if we don’t act!


In Thessalonikis Straßen...

„Das ist kein gutes Bild“ und „wie Hunde“, sagte sie. Die Besitzerin eines Kiosk im Zentrum der Stadt. Eine Gruppe von Geflüchteten wartete noch immer auf Essen, das eine Organisation seit einigen Tagen hier verteilt. Ich versuchte ein bisschen zu argumentieren: Aber es ist besser als es zuvor an dem anderen Platz war, wo sie mitten im Staub saßen anstatt am Gehweg um zu essen. Also eine Verbesserung. Dass es nicht darum geht, welches Bild es abgibt, sondern darum zu helfen.

Während ich eine halbe Stunde wartete, konnte ich zwei verschiedene Gruppen feststellen: Eine der beiden, die den Müll zusammensammelten und die andere, die sich nicht darum scherte. Während ich wartete sah ich das erste Mal in meinem Leben die unangenehme Situation, in der die jungen Männer (auf der Flucht, seit sie Kinder und Jugendliche waren) am Rande des Gehwegs und den Treppenstufen zum Gebäude saßen... und wie sie die Passant*innen checkten. Die Mädchen und jungen Frauen checkten, auch in inadäquater Weise. Das erste Mal seit ich mit Menschen auf der Flucht arbeite, habe ich eine solche Situation gesehen – und ich mochte es gar nicht.

Wir brauchen Wohnungen für die Menschen! Wir brauchen Arbeit! Wir brauchen die Freiheit dort zu leben wo die Menschen leben wollen! Wir brauchen die Abschaffung von Dublin III! Wir brauchen Integration und Inklusion! Wir brauchen Menschlichkeit! Wir brauchen Menschen, die andere Menschen treffen! Wir brauchen Geld und Einrichtungen für Menschen in Nöten...

Diese Menschen sind in Nöten... und wir bringen uns langsam langsam auch in Schwierigkeiten wenn wir nicht reagieren!


I am so glad to see young people who start to help. The ones who realise that they have to give something, and who start to give it. Because they can. Because they want. And because unfortunately there are so many needs.

I love to see these young men and women, girls and boys who don’t come to Greece to feel heroic or special, but who see how hard the locals are working. And who just hop in – to do whatever they can give… for instance to find free time to make from old clothes some wonderful toys for the children in the Refugee Day Center.


Ich bin immer so froh wenn ich junge Menschen sehe, die zu helfen beginnen. Diejenigen, die feststellen dass sie etwas zu geben haben, und die es geben. Weil sie es können. Weil sie es wollen. Und weil es hier leider viele Nöte gibt. Ich liebe es diese jungen Männer und Frauen, diese Mädchen und Jungs zu sehen, die nicht nach Griechenland kommen, um sich heroisch oder besonders zu fühlen, sondern die sehen wie hart die Einheimischen arbeiten. Und die einfach reinspringen – um das zu tun, was sie eben geben können... und das kann freie Zeit sein, in der aus alter Kleidung im Tageszentrum für Menschen auf der Flucht für die Kinder wundervolle Spielsachen entsehen...


Photo credits: Vivien Konen


Noch nie hat jemand etwas so Schönes über mich und meine Arbeit geschrieben... Ich danke Charis Haska, die mich allen Ernstes fragte, ob ich mich "angemessen wiedergegeben" fühle. Ich bin so unendlich dankbar dass es solche Menschen gibt, die sowas wie diese Lesung ermöglichen.


Three years ago, the police evicted Idomeni camp at the FYROM borders. It was one of my last days of my first time in Thessaloniki. I remember it as yesterday.

One year ago we have been in Lesvos Island with project partners from Italy, Spain and Croatia. The same time our colleagues wrote an article about the situation in Diavata camp in Thessaloniki, were we used to work and were the number of people trying to survive there from the 700 for who it is designed has grown up to 2000.

Idomeni camp - Lesvos - Moria camp - Diavata camp... this day showed me over the years more than many people will see or even hear about all their life long.

I wish we could hear more in the news, read more also in Europe about the (still difficult) situation in Greece.

I wish one day it will be over like a nightmare from which you wake up.


Vor drei Jahren hat die Polizei Idomeni Camp an der Grenze zur ehemaligen jugoslawischen Republik Mazedonien geräumt. Es war einer der letzen Tage meines ersten Aufenthaltes in Thessaloniki. Ich erinnere mich als wäre es gestern gewesen.

Heute vor einem Jahr waren wir in Lesvos mit einem Projekt mit Projektpartner*innen aus Italien, Spanien und Kroatien. In der gleichen Zeit schrieben Kolleg*innen einen Artikel über die Situation in Diavata Camp in Thessaloniki, wo wir arbeiteten und wo die Zahl der Menschen, die versuchten dort zu überleben von den 700 für die das Camp gedacht ist auf 2000 stieg.

Idomeni Camp – Lesvos – Moria Camp – Diavata Camp…

Der heutige Tage hat mir über die Jahre hinweg mehr gezeigt als manche Menschen ihr ganzes Leben lang sehen werden. 

Ich wünschte wir würden mehr darüber in den Nachrichten hören, mehr über die (noch immer schwierige) Situation in Griechenland auch im Rest von Europas lesen.

Ich wünsche eines Tages wird es vorbei sein, so wie ein Albtraum aus dem du aufwachst...


To live with people on the flee can change your look at the world. I know that already since a long time, and every time again I a am a bit surprised and also glad about it…

…thus, for example, a normal boat trip and day at the beach can be a day with a lot of stories: “When I have been in Turkey, I took many times a boat”, “In my country we don’t learn swimming.”, “When I came to Greece I am glad that I did not go via the Mediterranean because I cannot swim.”, “I am afraid to go in the water when I feel I cannot stand there anymore.”

…I can see how brave people are who had to flee their country and still go on every single day in a foreign country with an unsecure future. I can see how brave a friend is who went in the deeper water and tried to learn how to swim. I see the courage and the will not only to survive, but to live. 

And to change also our lives for the better.


Mit Menschen auf der Flucht zu leben, kann deinen Blick auf die Welt verändern. Ich weiß das seit einer langen Zeit, aber jedes Mal wieder bin ich ein bisschen überrascht und auch froh darüber. kann zum Beispiel ein normaler Bootsausflug mit Tag am Strand ein Tag mit einem Haufen schöner Geschichten werden: „Als ich in der Türkei war, habe ich oft das Boot genommen“, „In meinem Land lernt man nicht zu schwimmen.“, „Als ich nach Griechenland kam war ich froh dass ich nicht über das Mittelmeer kommen musste, weil ich nicht schwimmen kann.“, „Ich habe Angst ins Wasser zu gehen wenn ich das Gefühl habe, ich kann dort nicht mehr stehen.“

...Ich kann sehen wie mutig die Menschen sind, die ihr Land verlassen mussten und jeden Tag weitermachen in diesem fremden Land mit einer unsicheren Zukunft. Ich kann sehen wie mutig mein Freund ist der in tieferes Wasser ging und der versuchte schwimmen zu lernen. Ich sehe den Mut und und Willen nicht nur zu überleben, sondern zu leben.

Und auch unsere Leben zu verbessern.


For the multilanguage festival in Thessaloniki we prepared some texts. We gathered them in a small multilingual performance. Starting with the Urdu-Greek story of a friend how he left Pakistan, came to Turkey, had to flee from there and how he tries to build his life here, still waiting for asylum. Then I was reading a text in German and Greek according to the title “dreaming a nest” about the project for women and children on the flee, and my own experiences as a foreigner in Thessaloniki. And then we heard two stories in Arabic-Greek and in Farsi-Greek about life on the flee. What safety means if you don’t have a house, what a house could mean if you could have one, how it feels not to say “I am at home”, and how dreams still exist.

From the first preparation I knew that the most challenging point would not be to read the first time in front of an audience in Greek, but to feel not ashamed that there is that difference between a “migrant” and a “foreigner” from another European country and people on the flee, “asylum seekers”, “refugees”.

I am glad their stories have been heard!


Für das „Mehrspachigkeitsfestival“ in Thessaloniki haben wir einige Texte vorbereitet. Wir haben sie in einer kleinen mehrsprachigen Performance zusammengefasst. Beginnend mit der urdu-griechischen Geschichte eines Freundes, wie er Pakistan verlassen hat, wie er in die Türkei kam, wie er auch von dort flüchten musste und wie er versuch, sein Leben hier aufzubauen, wo er noch immer auf Asyl wartet. Ich las einen Text auf Deutsch und Griechisch, der sich auf den Titel „Ein Nest träumen“ bezog, las über das Projekt für geflüchtete Frauen und Kinder, sowie über meine eigenen Erfahrungen als Ausländerin in Thessaloniki. Und dann hörten wir noch zwei Geschichten auf arabisch-griechisch und farsi-griechisch über das Leben auf der Flucht. Was Sicherheit bedeutet wenn du keine Wohnung hast, was ein Zuhause bedeutet wenn du die Möglichkeit hast eines zu haben. Wie es sich anfühlt zu sagen „ich bin zuhause“ und wie Träume noch immer bestehen.

Vom ersten Moment der Vorbereitung an wusste ich, dass das am meisten Herausfordernde für mich nicht sein würde das erste Mal vor einem Publikum auf griechisch zu lesen, sondern mich nicht dafür zu schämen, dass es diesen Unterschied gibt zwischen „Migrant*innen“ und „Fremden“ aus anderen europäischen Ländern, sowie „Asylsuchenden“, „Flüchtlingen“.

Ich bin froh dass ich ihre Geschichte gehört habe.


I expected them beeing 17, 18 years old... and then they have been 14. Really young boys and girls from Germany with turkish background. They did not express anything, only when I found the perfect place for lunch, some of the girls started to chatter a bit.

When I asked them if they heard about Idomeni camp, I realised they have been 10, 11 then - of course they did not hear about it... They brought clothes and pens and sweets they collected at home... I saw them so helpless and so curious in the same time. My friend who guided them through the Refugee Day Center said some very important things I told them already before. One was, that it is important to form its own opinion. And that you have to listen to the protagonists to be able to form your own opinion. And that it is great if you do that when you are young.

Maybe I liked that day so much, because I remembered how many great trips through Europe with my youth group I did in the eighties... I don‘t remember every single thing and maybe today I would get more that I got then - but these trips have made me what I am today (I mean the good parts of myself). I translated Greek-German the first time and they wrote me the „thank you“ in a book in Turkish. 

They have been very young. But I did not feel old with them.


There have been times when I loved the sound of rain sitting in a tent or a car. There have been times when I did not think about refugee camps when I heard the sound of rain from the balcony. There have been times when I did not see in my inner eye all the people in the streets with wet shoes and without socks and without a future... when I heard the rain outside while I was warm and safe inside...


💛 I always knew that I know wonderful people from whom I can learn a lot about love, empathy and solidarity. Actually I already learned a lot from and with them. I am blessed with friends, I had in Munich all the years, and I remember the last time when I did not have any jobs and could not pay my bills and these friends just gave me the money to pay my apartment and brought me food - and love with it. One beloved friend shared her first income she got some years ago, it feels as though it were only yesterday.

Last week I visited her. We met after one year when she has been visiting me in Thessaloniki. We spoke a bit about the imminent presentation and reading of my blog in another town. Yesterday she wrote me that after a long time she, yet again, read my blog.

…and today I found her first income (after almost one year in which she was also working as a volunteer) to share it with people in needs in Greece. 

I always knew that I have wonderful friends from whom I can learn a lot about love, empathy and solidarity. But from time to time I am so overwhelmed how much I can learn. 💛


„Was können wir von hier aus tun, um zu helfen?“, war eine der ersten Fragen nach meiner einstündigen Lesung in einer Gemeinde in Franken gestern abend. Natürlich, später kamen auch Aussagen zu Politikern, die etwas ändern müssten und der Hilflosigkeit. Und doch, die Tendenz bei diesen Zuhörenden war diese. Ehrliches Interesse, gepaart mit Empathie. Mit einer spontanen Sammlung von Spendengeldern, die ich vollkommen baff mit nach Hause nehmen werde. „Für ein paar neue Schlafsäcke“, spielte jemand auf Texte die ich gelesen hatte an. Und ich verstand: diese Menschen vertrauen mir das Geld an, in der Sicherheit, dass ich stellvertretend für sie etwas tun werde. Nichts Großes, nur dieses eine kleine bisschen, was vielleicht einen einzelnen rettet, nicht die ganze Welt, und damit eben doch die ganze Welt, die es für ihn oder sie bedeutet.
Ich bin dankbar für meinen Aufenthalt in Marktleuthen, dankbar für die Gastfreundschaft der ganzen Pfarrersfamilie, dankbar für Gemeinschaft in der Passionsandacht, bei der Lesung und am Frühstückstisch.
So sehr ich es liebe alleine zu sein und für mich, so sehr liebe ich es, Menschen zu begegnen. Wie gesegnet bin ich, dass ich das immer wieder tun kann...

Solidarity against European Union asylum politics... a project that accompanied me the last 14 months...

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog
June 2018 - March 2019
Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog J
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 4.3 MB

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog
April - June 2018
Refugees welcome 12.4.-15.6.18.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 2.3 MB

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog
Textes and pictures - Thessaloniki 11/2017 - 03/2018
Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog T
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 4.3 MB

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog
Texte und Bilder - Thessaloniki 08/2017 - 11/2017
Blog August bis November 2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 587.8 KB

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog.
Texte und Bilder - Thessaloniki 12/2016 - 04/2017
bis März 2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 2.1 MB

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog.
Texte und Bilder - Munich / Thessaloniki 09/2015 - 12/2016
Blog Refugees welcome bis Dezember 2016.
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 5.9 MB

Refugees welcome - some kind of a blog.
Texte und Bilder - Thessaloniki/ Munich 04/2017 - 07/2017
Blog April bis Juli 2017.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 753.7 KB