Compiled by Break Isolation Group of International Women* Space
Between April and August 2020, the Break Isolation Group of International Women* Space collected voice memos from women living in immigration warehouse facilities throughout Germany, allowing them to report on the conditions as they lived through the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in isolation. The anonymized excerpts below are only a small portion of the full transcripts, which are available in audio and written English and German on the ,,International Women* Space website.
April 1, 2020
Hallo, this is … from … and here, what is going on, they regulated, no visitors are coming in, but cleanliness these days, since this thing of Corona started, has not been done well, there is no sanitiser anywhere, the kitchens are dirty, the toilets are dirty, the corridors are dirty, the only thing they say is that we should buy the sanitisers for ourselves.
Hello, this is the update from Doberlug-Kirchhain about Corona. Just like in Eisen[hüttenstadt] – in the Mensa, where we eat, they provided washing facilities, that means you have to wash your hands with soap before you eat and there is that social distance of 1,5 meters in the queue. But in the bathrooms and toilets there is no soap. So if you need to wash your hands, you have to go with your own soap. But they try to do their best about the cleanliness in the bathrooms and in the toilets. On the other hand, because of this outbreak, the buses which used to take people to the market were removed. So when we asked about it, it was told to us that the bus will be available again once the epidemic goes down. But if you want to go to the market now, you have to walk all the way.
The other thing is that the staff members that work in the red cross have been reduced, also they have reduced the number of social workers and of staff that works in the kitchen. As a result of that, the services that we were used to get, for example in terms of meals, the meals have also been reduced gradually because they don’t have enough staff to handle so many people at once…
Information in different languages is available, they are there in the mensa, in the entrance of every house of the facility. So everybody is able to access information in their own language.
If they tell you to go for treatment and you try to resist, they will call the Polizei to come for you and take you to treatment by force – if they suspect that you have fever, even if it is not confirmed positive, if you have those mild symptoms – the fever, the headache – and they tell you to go to the hospital, and you refuse, they call for you the Polizei and you will be taken, when you are already arrested to the hospital.
April 3, 2020
Hello, this is the latest report from Doberlug-Kirchhain. We have now three confirmed cases of corona. Names have not been released in order to protect the victims. We have three victims confirmed. As a result of that they have put some new measures. Everybody has been provided with a mask, that means you have to wear a mask, everywhere you go. This is to protect the other members, because we don’t know who the 3 victims had been in contact with. Probably we have some people within us, who have not yet started showing the symptoms. That’s why we have to wear the masks all around. And then in the isolation facility, there was a guy, who was trying to bring trouble. He tried to break out of the isolation by force. And due to that they called the Polizei and security men, and this Polizei, we have been told, is going to be there permanently keeping vigilant with the security people, just to prevent them from coming out.
May 5 2020
This report from Nauen, as I had reported earlier about cleaning less; we’ve not seen change. And even if we report, they tell us that those people who do the washing or the cleaning, they’re doing it on duty. But before we were here, before corona started, the corridors, the toilets, the kitchens were cleaned every day, but since corona started, things changed. And the things I reported here, we’ve not seen any change. Now, recently, some of us are the ones that are taking their time to clean the toilets, to clean the kitchen, to take the Müll [garbage] outside when it’s full…
And it’s something we really don’t understand, because every day when we see the workers, sometimes you see them, they just come and clean the corridor and they go outside, smoke, and then leave. Sometimes they clean the kitchen and then go. As for the ladies’ toilet, there was a day, they stayed [uncleaned], like, seven days, during Easter, and it was so disgusting. And we are just wondering, if we are preventing corona, how will corona go if our toilets are dirty? So it is something that is bothering.
May 13 2020
These are updates from Doberlug-Kirchhain. In the month of April the social office started issuing masks which were made from materials. They were issuing each resident clean masks. But still the sanitisers were not available for everybody, except at the entrance of the buildings and also in the dining area where they normally have their food.
But in the isolation containers, the people were being given the sanitiser, and this is because they had complained. One of the things that people in the isolation were complaining about is that those people who are tested negative for corona and they are waiting for their quarantine period to end, are usually still mixed with people, new arrivals who come in, who are waiting for their test results to come out. And during this period when they are waiting for their test results to come out, they are sharing a kitchen and they are also sharing toilets. So there was really a bit of concern; what if these people [who] come in, and their test results are not yet out, could be having the virus, and they infect those ones who are in the isolation? So that was not okay. It was a bit of a concern for those ones who are in the isolation.
Also during that month, there was a political group by the name We’ll Come United Brandenburg-Berlin. They came to the camp and they supplied the residents with masks, sanitisers and some fruits. They came back again during the month of April, back to the camp with more supplies. However, they could not come in because they were not allowed any more to come in. And so they had to go back with the items they had brought. Nobody knows what they had brought. The residents could only view them through the windows. They could see their car parked outside the gates with several packs. They didn’t know what they had brought for them. And then they went back.
13 May 2020
As I’m speaking now, there are already people who are in Wusterhausen. They are already in quarantine. They are not sick whatsoever. According to the law, I think it’s enough if they give people the so-called Residenzpflicht [mandatory stay in place of residence], to stop them from going to another town. Why should you put people who are not sick in a quarantine, block them? Why? These questions I’m trying to ask some people. People are so frustrated and afraid and you can’t help all, but this message has to be mobilised. We have to get out the information. Why? In this time? Are you taking advantage of corona? It’s not really funny. This is a shit politic. It’s not even politic – it’s just shit.
16 June 2020
Hi. There is something going on here, that people don’t understand. I think there is no more hygiene in politics. As this quarantine is not anymore quarantine. I think it is taking advantage of the quarantine during this pandemic time. I have been in Wusterhausen, met people, women with children, pregnant women, being shuffled from one lager to another and within the Lager even shuffled from one room to another. After the 14 days they tell you they are taking you somewhere of which people don’t know where they go. Some people have been forced to sign a letter that they want to go back willingly to their countries. This is unbelievable. There are things implemented and they are not in the law. This a strategy to take advantage of this pandemic time. This shuffling people from one Lager to another. There are even people I’m shocked. I met a woman from Hennigsdorf. A pregnant woman came to Neuruppin. She doesn’t know why she is there. She was just told to come there. After 2 weeks she was given a room in Wusterhausen and after that we don‘t know where she was taken. You just wake up and you are told you are going somewhere else of which people have no idea where they are taking people. And then they are squeezing people in the rooms, this is not even quarantine anymore. It looks like a small jail. That’s what is going on here. It is very very shocking…The people are getting worried every day. So in this time of quarantine they are doing something. If you don‘t want to go and you don’t want to collaborate with them they give you between 50 to 90€. They give you a key to go in and out, as when you go out you give the key to the security and when you come in you have to take your key so that they monitor when you are going in and out. In one lager in Neuruppin they give you a special card with your photo which you have to give to the security. There is only one entrance and when you come back you show to them that you are back. Something is fishy here about it. And then they‘re stressing people as in if you don‘t collaborate you don‘t get money. If you don‘t collaborate, you don‘t have a place to stay. If you don‘t collaborate they don‘ t prolong your stay. If you don‘t, there is no other stamp on your permission to stay here. And they don‘t allow you to integrate or work. It‘s, they block you. And then they give you residenzpflicht. All those things have been happening for the last 2 or 3 months. Nobody understands.
August 8, 2020
Hallo! Hi, everyone. This is ___ from Michendorf and I want to give the final report of the Corona-virus.
In my place we still don’t welcome any visitors. The visitors are still not welcome. But we have a bit of change. As you remember, the last time I told you we do not have the sanitizer dispensers, they weren’t full. So nowadays they are filling it. That’s after we complained to the social workers and the sanitizers are now being filled up. Since I came to my Heim, I have not experienced any deportation, because as I understand, most of the guys have been here for wrong. And they haven’t, they have never seen since they were in – ah I forgot the name – before they got transferred here. So there are no deportations.
August 8 2020
Hello people. Good evening! This is ___ from Wünsdorf. I want to give a report on the corona-virus, since the last time. So far so good, because the last time we had a few cases of corona and now everybody has recovered and we have not encountered any new case. We hope that there will be no case at all. Secondly, we were not transferred, but now people have started going since this week on Wednesday. Ja. There have been several transfers and also next week there are more transfers. The other thing was about the time, we had that curfew for 6 hours, now it’s back to 48 hours but the checking of the temperature to and out of the gate and coming back is still there and also at the mensa, where we go to eat. They check the temperature every time we go to eat. So, Ja and then there is sanitizer when you enter in the gate and the wearing the mask full time when you are within the camp. So everything is ok so far – we thank God! Ja. Nice evening ladies!
August 18 2020
Good afternoon women, I want to give a report from where I live in a Heim based in Finsterwalde. So far here we have not reported any cases of COVID-19 but we have been receiving people from Herzberg, brought here for quarantine, and then after two weeks they’re taken back to their Heims. We also have new transfers from different camps like Doberlug-Kirschain location, Wünsdorf and Frankfurt Oder. About the measurements here in this place it’s normal simply because we are very few, so there is not so much contact with other people. Visitors are also allowed, we don’t have a lockdown here, maybe even that the space here is big, people can have visitors and stay outside without even coming in our rooms so we allowed to bring visitors in our Heim. Another thing is police interviews, so many people have gone through the interview, the reason is because they say the figures are here regularly and people are given different Strafe some are given between 200 euro and 1200 euros and normally they ask people to pay like from 20 euro to 50 euro monthly until the money is over.
The other thing is racism and discrimination, when we’re traveling people are experiencing insults, maybe when you’re sitting next to some white people they tell black people to keep distance, some even walk out of the bus because they don’t want to see black people and we are grateful to some drivers who normally supported us and ask them to move to another to seat or they wait they for the next bus. Thank you and stay safe.
For the full Corona Lager reports as well as many other projects from International Women* Space, please visit their ,,Website. You can also follow them for updates on ,instagram,, facebook and ,twitter