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New life at Marl, Germany

One day in September 2015, I met Mohammad at dawn near Belgrade central station.

He was a refugee and I was a photographer. Around 3 hours left, and I headed for Croatia in order to cover and interview refugees. After 6 months, I faced him again. He was lucky among refugees who came to Germany. He gets a partner, and 2 people stay in the apartment(2 rooms and 1 living room) in Marl, Germany.


His partner’s name is Mohammad, his 2 best friends’ names are Mohammad.

I met 4 Mohammads. Now, 1,500 refugees in Marl, and most of them are from Syria, some of refugees are Iraqis and the rest of them are Afghans. They get the monthly rent fee for house and 300€ as a supplementary living allowance in accordance with German refugee policy. However, they scrape a living after paying 150€ for maintenance fee. At the beginning of long journey to Germany, they bring several luggage, but just one bag and extreme exhaustion come together with them in the end of the journey. Season changes, and they need to buy clothes for cold and bed for rest. In order to settle there, their list for buying is long but the budget is never enough.

Nevertheless, they are so lively and cheerful. They don’t have to get anxiety of bombing and flying bullets. They are still worried about European Refugee policy changes, but, in somehow, they feel relieved and satisfied with settlement in Europe. Their concern is all about renewal of residence permit temporarily every 3 months.


Although Mohammad loves kind German people and peaceful neighborhood, he wants to go back to Syria after finishing the war and Al-Assad regime change. The civil war between government and rebels has agreed a truce by the agreement between USA and Russia, but Al-Assad regime is concreted and IS still aims a gun at people. He needs to save money in Germany and bring his mother who stays in Syria to Lebanon, unless the regime doesn’t change and IS isn’t expelled from Syria. Many refugees are always talking about going back to their country, if the regime changes and the war ceases. The peace for them is not only stopping the war, but it is also the change of government.


Eventually, the real freedom is the peace that people desire.

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