22. ilb 7. - 17.09.2022

Lithuania

The Baltic States have little experience with the reception and handling of refugees. Accordingly, few people are granted asylum in Lithuania at all. In 2015, 300 people applied for asylum in Lithuania, but more than half of these applications were denied. Refugees from countries close to Lithuania, for example Russia, are seemingly preferred over asylum seekers from other countries. In September 2015, the Lithuanian government reluctantly agreed to the EU-Relocation Programme and vowed to take in 1.105 refugees within the next two years, but as of January 2017, only 214 of them have arrived.  They hardly receive any kind of support from the government; instead they are often isolated from the rest of the Lithuanian population rather than participating in everyday life.

Participating author: Nils Mohl

Nils Mohl was born in Hamburg in 1971. When he was in his late twenties, he started to write and his debut novel “Kasse 53” (Engl.: Cash Register 53) was published in 2008. This was followed by more publications, for example the collection of short stories called “Ich wäre tendenziell für ein Happy End” (Engl.: I Tend to Prefer a Happy Ending) in 2009 and the novel “Es war einmal Indianerland” (Engl.: Once Upon an Indian land). For the latter, Mohl was nominated for the Youth Literary Prize (Jugendliteraturpreis). He has received several awards for his literary work, amongst others the MDR Literary Prize (MDR: Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk, Central German Broadcasting), the Literary Award of the City of Hamburg for his short stories, and the Oldenburg Children and YA Literature Prize. Mohl currently lives in Hamburg, Germany.

A more detailled biography can be found here.

Lithuania – Photographs by Nils Mohl

© Nils Mohl

About an hour and a half by car from Vilnius is the one of only two state institutions for refugees in Lithuania. The small town of Rukla has a population of 2,300 and is surrounded by mixed forest, barracks and a military training grounds. 

Photographed on the 27th of August 2016 in Rukla, Lithuania.

© Nils Mohl

Refugee children who live at the Rukla refugee home. In the past, refugees in Lithuania were mainly fleeing from political prosecution from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. There was maximum of a few hundred each year. Ethnically, linguistically, religiously and culturally, the obstacles to integration were relatively low. With the global refugee crisis, the picture is gradually changing. 

Photographed on the 27th of August 2016 in Rukla, Lithuania.

© Nils Mohl

Redwan Eid is a journalist and refugee from Syria. He paid a tugboat in Turkey in the spring of 2016 to get to Greece by inflatable boat. From there he wanted to go to Ireland – but within the framework of the EU Relocation program he eventually landed in Lithuania. 

Photographed on the 29th of August 2016 in Vilnius, Lithuania.