Marek Canek, Praha
“Even cheaper prices of all products of the following cathegories: coffee, black tea, beer, alcohol, sweets, chocolate, cosmetics, detergents, toilet paper“, announces a lidl commercial. For tomatoes to Poland and for electronics in return to Germany. At the borders the customs officers contemplate the Schengen Treaty: “It was signed in 1985 by the Benelux and … Germany”. The only passenger in the wagon tests if showing an ID is enough. Accepted. The traveler gives a ghost of a smile because the balance has just shifted in his favour. Also the contents of his big bags has become a private matter. The curiosity of the customs officers can no longer be satisfied so easily. Are they sorry about the change? One of them spits on the rails. Meanwhile at the celebrations it is time for fireworks. A woman turns to a man: “Anyway, we should have left in the year ´68”.
About an illegal Polish Worker
Nadina Wójcik, Berlin
Jacek’s back is straight, sitting on the broken chair covered with dry paint. He is looking down on his hands, turning them slowly inside out – inside out. The skin horny, the finger show red cuts. Jacek does not talk. The tea on the improvised table made out of bricks and a wooden board is already cold.
Jacek was painting a living room this morning. Bright white. When the two men entered. He did not understand the words they were shouting. Still he understood. He just dropped the brush, starring at the town administrators. A third man appeared in the door frame. His language Jacek understood – he is a Pole just like him – he is the translator. “You are denounced for illegal employment. There will be no further persecution. But you have to leave Germany right away.” Jacek accepted the yellow papers of the offence record, dual printed, and slowly left the room passing the tree men. Looking on his feet, his face red.
Turning his hands inside out. He discovers a splint in his right thumb. Slowly he leads his hand in front of his eyes, covered behind thick old style glasses with simple dark-brown frames. His short finger nails try to pull out this littlest piece of wood. For eight years Jacek comes to Germany to work. He always stayed many weeks, sometimes even months. Earning money for his family, his little farm in South-East Poland. For eight years nobody ever noticed him. For eight years he had a hard worked income. It is over now. A yellow dual printed record.
“I am not allowed to enter Germany for the next three years.” Jacek takes a zip of the cold tea with lemon. “Or any other EU-country.” He bursts out laughing. Some clunks of white paint fall out of his hair. “I wonder what I will do First of May. Do I have to emigrate to Belarus than?”