One tries to forget the time


Experiences of Togolese Refugee in the "Jungle home" Tramm

Since february 1997 Watara Aourfoh from Togo is living in the middle of the forst in a Gemeinschaftsunterkunft in Tramm/Mecklenburg Vorpommern. His asylum procedure lasted 7 1/2 years. The last hearing took place 4 years ago. Recently he got the incitement to leave Germany within 4 weeks. We have talked with Watara Aourfoh about his experiences in the camp.

What does it mean for you to live in Tramm?

The life inside the lager is hell. It is not possile to live in Tramm, one can only survive. For me it is a psychological punishment to have lived for such a long time in Tramm without any perspective. At the moment I can only keep my head above water by taking anti-depressive medication.

Can you describe this a little more in detail?

It is hard to imagine what it means to be excluded for 8 years. One has to fend for oneself, without psychological care, without information, without any help for integration - in the middle of Germany. When one has to see a doctor or wants to buy a bread roll, one has to walk 8 kilometres, no matter if it's winter oder summer, if there is rain or sunshine. Besides there is the fear of walking trough the forest: Many of us - including myself - have already been attacked several times by Germans in the forest.

What does a regular day in Tramm look like?

Every day looks the same. Many people lie in bed until noon, because there is nothing to do for them anyway. There is no perspective, therefore one tries to suppress one's thoughts. Many of us are depressive or are having alcohol problems. We try to avoid arguments. Because trivial matters can escalate the situation.

Does one still feel the time in Tramm?

When one gets up in the morning, one sees fence and forest everywhere. This limits ones own thoughts. One tries not to think about future or the past time, one only tries to forget the time and hopes, that something will change. Tramm is worse than a prison.


In prison one knows why one is locked up there. But I as a refugee, who has fled with several bullets in my leg would never have thought that I would end up as a rat in total oblivion, that I would permanently have to be afraid of deportation and of the terror of the warden of the 'Heim'.

What does your current situation look like?

After 8 years of waiting I have suddenly got a notification that I have to leave Germany within 4 weeks. I cannot unterstand this. I have always tried to be a good refuggee. Even thinking of having to go back to Togo is torture. I rather be dead!

What do you mean by "good refugee"?

In 1997 I and some other refugees have written a letter to the minister of the interior. The only answer we got was tightened pressure by the authorities. It was during this time that the fear became a constant part of me. I have no longer tried to demand my rights. Because whenever a refugee demands something he is threatened by deportation. Keeping quiet for many years has nothing to do with my actual beliefs!

Thank you Watara. We hope, that we together can win a Bleiberecht for you!

[this interview was made for the newspaper of the german nolager action tour 2004]

[back to top]