[ 05. Sep 2009 ]

'Invisible Borders' about Horst, Hamburg online

Refugee camp behind fence

The multimedia- show about the Refugees Detainee- Camp
Horst near Hamburg is now online. Because the film maker was not allowed to talk with the refugees or to enter the camp he concentrated on the invisible borders, the surrounding area and the process of isolation.


About 26 miles distant from Hamburg lays the small village Horst. It is nestled between the Elbe river and a small woods and plains. With around 500 Inhabitants and no special historic sites it seems not worth mentioning.

But for several hundred refugees it is the center of their lives. In an old NVA (National Army of Ex-DDR) barracks, they are locked away from social contacts and have no possibility of participating in life like other people in Germany.

These barracks are only one of dozens of so called “Ausreisezentrum” (departure center), where refugees get detained as soon as they reach the German border. Tens of Thousands are detained in such rotten camps and old buildings. They are not allowed to work, to leave their district, to travel without controls or to take part at political or social events. If they do so – they get deported. Often this situation lasts for several months – in worse cases up to years.

And only a small percentage is lucky enough to get a residency permit even after that long wait. Most of the refugees get deported out of Europe to their home-countries (or supposed home-countries) – regardless of whether there are still conflicts, wars or famines there.

This system of camps and deportation was built up since the 1990’s in order to “defend” Europe from so called “economic refugees”. But the primary problems in the economies of the “third world” are results of neo-colonialism and the exploitation of the natural resources by the western nations.

But in our world there is a two-class system with many gradations in between. The people from industrialized countries are allowed to travel through the whole world and to settle where they want. The second-class citizens do not have those possibilities. They need to risk their life to travel to a country where life has more to offer – and work there illegally to raise some money for their villages and families, which remain at home.

And the situation is getting worse. The EU has build up FRONTEX (from the French: Frontières extérieures, established by EU law as the: European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union) – a high-tech Border Patrol to keep refugees out of Europe.

Various humanitarian organizations have attributed more than 6.000 deaths near the Canary Islands to FRONTEX– in 2006 alone! The estimated number of unreported cases is several times higher.

And the few people who have the change to survive thousand miles of flight and the deadly border-controls – get detained into camps in Germany (and the other countries of the EU) and have almost no change to break out of this kind of suffering.

These invisible Borders are direct next to us – we only need to open our eyes now!