The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?


Part 9: Dancing Away Stereotypes and Prejudice

Actress Olga Feger, 36, brings people together in Dresden.

How do you dance with North Africans, Ms. Feger?

The way Olga Feger sees it, time can be divided into the "before Pegida" era and "after Pegida," referring to the far-right, anti-Muslim movement based in Dresden. Even before Pegida was founded, she was campaigning on behalf of migrants and offered a theater club for "Dresden's young locals and its refugees." After Pegida came into the picture, however, she decided her efforts no longer went far enough. Together with some friends, she opened Café International in the city's trendy Neustadt district. It serves as a weekly meeting point for locals and refugees.

She also directs a theater workshop at Dresden's respected Staatsschauspiel theater. Every Monday, she stands among 70 to 80 people and asks them to get in a circle and hold hands. Then she asks them to intertwine with one another as much as they can without letting go. It's an interesting exercise. Eighty percent of the workshop's participants are migrants, all of them young men from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and North Africa. The locals who attend are almost all women. A 13-year-old girl with her mother is also there. Feger observes how the mood relaxes with each new exercise. "It's striking how people can alleviate their aggression through these exercises and find their way toward greater confidence," she says. For a time, it also looked like she might need to come up with another way to divide time -- "before Cologne" and "after Cologne." As this year's sexual violence was still making headlines, her female participants and the North Africans kept their distance from her workshop for a while. But now, they've started to come back, she says. And to this day, there's never been an incident in her course.

Dance instructor Olga Feger: "It's striking how people can alleviate their aggression through these exercises."
Detlef Ulbrich/ Societaetstheater Dresden

Dance instructor Olga Feger: "It's striking how people can alleviate their aggression through these exercises."

Discuss this issue with other readers!
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spiegelerin 02/21/2016
1. HOW do you integrate them?
I just saw a photo of Africans squatting on a boat waiting to come over and another load of them waiting in Libya. (Kaddafi said, watch what happens when they just hop over to Europe.) They are going to take an integration course and live well in hyper independent Germany? I don't think so. They are adults with different norms. When it comes to women, when it comes to how to cure AIDS (sleeping with virgins) when it comes to noise in the streets...the cultures will not harmoniously merge and European culture will have to deal with becoming less woman friendly, louder and so on...I don't see this happening at all well, but apparently "mixed" societies like in France and Belgium work 'well enough." But more are coming and I don't see harmony, at least not for people with European norms. Will this one get published? It's MY opinion, not that of SPON.
artvent 02/21/2016
2. Muslim Refugees
I'm sorry for these people, but you must realize they will live in their own ghettos and because of their religion will never assimilate - they will not contribute to your society because they are mostly uneducated and they will not respect their host nation. Just look at France if you want to see the problem. Most of all I feel sorry for the German people and what will happen to Germany in the years to come after this invasion. You will lose your identity.
bartelbe 02/21/2016
3. it won't work
You want to know what integration looks like? Integration is mixed families, it is muslim girls dating, sleeping with, marrying and having families with German men. That isn't going to happen, because if a muslim girl amoung these "refugees" decided to date a German man she would be dishonouring her family and would be punish. Let that sink in, your new arrivals reguard you with such contempt that if one of their female relatives dated one of your young men, it would be seen as a form of dishonour. If it was the other way round you would condemn that attitude as racist, but no doubt it will be swept under the carpet just like the events in Cologne. Sex and relationships reveals the truth about how people feel. Your new arrivals are not interested in integration, and they do not respect your culture. That is the truth and no amount of PC censorship will change that.
nsmith 02/22/2016
4. Integration Doesn't Happen Overnight...
Germany is going to find out that Integration is not as easy as "Wir Schaffen Das!" The United States of America was built on that same principle over 300 years ago, and we're still having problems with it.
spiegelerin 02/24/2016
5. The next task is to integrate them...
Yes, one integration course and they will learn European values of not grabbing women, of not thinking that women alone have no honor...One integration course and they won't be the desperate people who don't respect barriers, who don't jump trains. No, if You don't give them money and take care of their needs, they are going to get angry. Just take care of them, at any cost.
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