Tambach-Dietharz - An excerpt from the film: "The boat is full and
totally against racism"
by Cornelia Antes and Hermann Bach, Berlin 1999, © Umbruch Bildarchiv
For this documentary the filmmakers Conny Antes-Anceves and Hermann Bach accompanied the migrant activist group „Karawane“ on their tour through Germany in August and September 1998. Activists from all over the country travelled in a bus through Germany to visit segregated refugee camps. With their tour they wanted to protest against the treatment of asylum seekers in those far away places and break the isolation of the people living there. On the 25th August 1998, they visited the camp Tambach. Julius Bamtu Bogima, a congolese activist, who was also a member of the group The Voice in Jena, had invited the Karawane to come there. The whole documentary on the 1998 tour and more information on later tours by the Karawane is available online at Umbruch-Bildarchiv.
What do you notice about this film?
Which part do you find important and which not?
What questions do you ask yourself after watching?
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Refuge with a taste of humiliation.
This is the sentence that came to my mind when I saw the video. It reminds me of many similar things, which I experienced when I came to Germany in 2015 in the state of Thuringia. I lived in several asylum camps and felt like a prisoner there.
I did not feel safe or free, but rather in prison. I remember the humiliation and daily racism that I was subjected to by the employees working there or the ordinary people on the street.
We did not come because we are hungry, but we came in search of safety from war, killing and threats. But I was surprised by the amount of racism towards us and the lack of security and freedom in Germany.
Day by day my desire to stay in this country is less and less.
I tried hard to integrate into this society, learned the language, held several jobs and studied, but it is not enough, unfortunately, because I am from a country that is not white. Unfortunately, my hair is black, my eyes are not colored, and my skin is brown.
I was disgusted and disgusted with my roots and my name, so I changed it so that this country would accept me, but it was of no use.
How could I not notice that?!
At that time I lived only 20 km away as a child and teenager ... and I just found out about it now for the first time.
I am pleased that people from other places in West or East Germany have come to visit Tambach. Sometimes when you live in such a remote place, it's great for people's mental health and physical health just to know that someone is coming, checking on you, and visiting you. For us refugees it is very important to say out loud what our problems are and it is important that someone is there to listen.
I was never in Tambach, but I experienced the asylum process in Thuringia in other camps from 2015 onwards.
The first thing I notice is how moved, empathetic the faces of the protesters are and how dismissive, frozen, those of the police officers and the camp employees. The most normal thing would be to talk to each other, to meet each other respectfully. Gestures and looks from those responsible behind the fence have such a dismissive effect on me that I am simply ashamed to look at them.
It is important that refugees have their say visibly and audibly. Those looks and gestures that speak of contempt can only be captured on film, but it is so important to document them.
I wonder why this could happen, is that how you receive guests? In addition, guests who fled from hunger, war, torture and great hardship.
Where was I at that time?
I had small children, I worked in a kindergarten a few kilometers away. There, too, I witnessed racist hostility towards the children of refugees.