Touring play says Germany no paradise for migrants

Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:13am EST
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By Michelle Martin

STRALSUND, Germany (Reuters) - A satirical play touring Germany aims to debunk any suggestion that the million migrants who entered Germany this year have made it to paradise.

Heiko Ostendorf, director of "Asylant im Wunderland" ("Asylum Seeker in Wonderland"), said many Germans harbored the suspicion that the new arrivals were living the high life here at their expense.

"They think the refugees who come to Germany had nothing back home, lived in corrugated iron huts and should be thankful to have running water here. But that's rubbish, and the idea they're living in wonderland now even though some sleep in tent cities and gymnasiums is absolute nonsense," he told Reuters.

Peppered with black humor, the play portrays two officials from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees at an airport, searching for refugees who can help fill Germany's increasing shortage of skilled labor.

They greet two well-qualified refugees with roses, sparkling wine, beer and coffee before offering to take them to a four-star hotel or a luxury penthouse by limousine.

But the refugees – Basima and Berschko - are not interested. They have been living in Germany for some time already and their experience is far from what the officials are promising.

An information board fills up with planes landing in "hell" while a flight headed for "paradise" is marked as canceled.

Basima laments leaving behind her good job, comfortable apartment and parties with friends to end up sharing a tiny room with eight others in a rat- and cockroach-infested refugee home in Germany.   Continued...

Actors perform a satirical play called 'Asylant im Wunderland' (Asylum Seeker in Wonderland) in a community centre in Stralsund, Germany, December 12, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle Martin