Escape and Expulsion Yesterday and Today
Documentary theatre project
In cooperation with: Kreis Kinder- und Jugendring Märkisch-Oderland e.V.
Supported by means of Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung
Patronage: Mrs Simona Koß, member of the Landtag Brandenburg, spokesperson for education policy of the SPD state parliament faction
Target group: Young people from the 9th grade on and adults
18th of September 2018, 6 p.m., Kleist Forum, Frankfurt/Oder
19th of September 2018, 12 a.m., Kleist Forum, Frankfurt/Oder
Premiere in Brandenburg: 13th of September, 11 a.m., Kreiskulturhaus Seelow, Kleiner Saal
Cast: Mirja Henking, Vadim Grabovski, Volkmar Leif Gilbert, Armin Moallem, refugees, witnesses of the times
Director: Monika Dobrowlanska
Set and costume design: Johanna Pfau
Music: Botho Karger
Choreography: Sabina Ferenc
“I wish the memory of those who fled or were expelled back then could enhance our understanding for those who have fled or been displaced today. (…) For they belong together in a quite essential manner – the fate of people back then and the fate of people today”.
In our documentary theater project we want to take the idea of Joachim Gauck and develop it in an artistic process. Our topic is the homeless people from yesterday, today and tomorrow, “the handcart from old days” and “the boat drifting in the Mediterranean from today”.
The actual number of refugees is quite low compared to the post-war period. At that time, 12 million refugees and expellees came to the territory of four occupation zones in Germany. They faced hostility and were dismissed as “polacks” and “gypsies”.
They came from the East to an area, where nationalist propaganda had been existed for many years, which claimed that everything from the East was bad.
Welcoming culture? At that time, it was a completely unknown concept. At the end of the 1940s, people in Emsland talked about three curses – “wild boars, potato beetles and refugees”. This reminds of Pegida slogans.
However even 70 years after the end of the war, the story of fleeing because of military conflicts has not been brought to an end yet. Thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya or Somalia are trying to escape misery in their home countries. Today, mass media report about that, while at that time the communication channels were largely destroyed, so that only few people were aware of such a big flow of refugees.
The fear of competition and alienation is back: Is Germany literally overrun? Will it face a catastrophe? Is Germany abolishing itself? Old prejudices are replaced by new ones that are skeptical of Islam.
The theatre project is based on documents of the times and interviews with expelled German, Polish, and Jewish children after the Second World War as well as with today’s young refugees. The individual destinies and experiences that interlock like puzzle pieces reveal an interesting picture of causes of escape and give the answer to the question: how is it to arrive in a new country and to have to start the life from the beginning?
Professional actors, witnesses and refugees are involved in the performance.
After the performance the audience is invited to a discussion.
RBB TV, Zibb, 22.11.2017, Theatre play about the refugee child Dorothea, Jana Kalms
RBB, Radio Kultur, Stage director Monika Dobrowlanska, 13.09.2017, Vera Block