The ride lasted 15 minutes. The bus conductor asked for her ticket, she didn’t have one. Then, he asked to see her passport. How did he know she wasn’t from here? I thought about my mother who was born here, in Germany, in a refugee camp, after the war.
On January 22nd, 2015, a Thursday afternoon, Santiago Contreras Soux and I got on bus line no. 6 from Weimar to Buchenwald. After the bus left the Goetheplatz station, we started reading aloud the first act of Flüchtlingsgespräche (“Refugee Conversations”), a play written by Bertolt Brecht between 1940 and 1941 while he was in exile in Finland after fleeing Germany in 1933. We read in German about Pässe (passports), about Ordnungsliebe (order-loving) and about Ebenbürtigkeit von Bier und Zigarre (equal state of beer and cigarettes).
While reading on the bus, booklets with the text were handed out to passengers. Most of the passengers took it and read along during the performance, most of them kept it; a father with his young daughter, a group of teenage girls, young and old, men and women. Some were on their way to Buchenwald, some were on their way to the refugee accommodations located on the way to Buchenwald. Few people seemed annoyed.