The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
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.
- Part 1: What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
- Part 2: Integration 101
- Part 3: Are Refugees More Violent?
- Part 4: Frustration and a Lack of Resources
- Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim
- Part 6: 'A Challenge Like No Other'
- Part 7: The Doctor's Advice: Learn German and Be Patient
- Part 8: A 1.5 Billion Burden for the Healthcare System?
- Part 9: Dancing Away Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Part 10: The Midwife's Migraine
- Part 11: Germany Will Need 20,000 New Teachers for Refugees
- Part 12: 'We Need Time'
- Part 13: 'We Will Only Manage This If We Have the Infrastructure'
- Part 14: 'We Will Undergo a Multicultural Transformation'
- Part 15: Refugees at Our Doorsteps
- Part 16: 1.09 Million Refugees Registered in 2015
- Part 17: Policing the Refugee Camps
- Part 18: The Refugee Bill
- Part 19: Integration Will Be a Task for Decades to Come
- Part 20: 'An Open Economy Would Be Unimaginable without Immigration'
- Part 21: BMW Courts Refugees
- Part 22: A Michelin Star and Refugees
- Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'