For the young residents living in Germany’s largest collective housing estate for migrants and asylum seekers, the endless boredom of an unsettled limbo is ever present.
Located on the edge of the small town of Lebach-Jabach, near the border with Luxembourg and France, these lodgings are known as the Lager. In German, the Lager translates to ‘holiday camp.’ This word is also similar to another German word, Konzentrationslager, or ‘concentration camp’.
Officially, the Lager is a temporary stopping point, where residents are allowed to remain for no longer than one year before being moved to other long-term accommodation. Yet, Stefanie Zofia Schulz regularly encountered residents who had been waiting in this ‘preliminary settlement’ for over fifteen years. For many of the children, the Lager is the only home they have ever known.
Schulz sensitively documents the day-to-day malaise of these youngsters growing up as ‘tolerated’ people, stranded in this drab housing estate. They are not allowed to legally stay in the country, nor are they able to go anywhere else safely. The Lager - although the birthplace of some - is home to none.