Tobias Boes University of Notre Dame

Tobias Boes

Literature on the Refugee Crisis

A (highly incomplete) guide to literary texts in German that deal with the recent refugee crisis. Feel free to contact me at if you would like to suggest additions to this list.  The work that impressed me the most of all of these is the novel by Jenny Erpenbeck (350 pages but written in very accessible language). If you are looking for something shorter, I also recommend the story “Neue Schuhe für Frau Hung” by Doris Dörrie in the collection Fremd edited by Fridolin Schley. It’s about 20 pages long and should be accessible to students with 4-5 semesters of college level German.

Jenny Erpenbeck, Gehen, ging, gegangen
Maxi Obexer, Wenn gefährliche Hunde lachen
Fridolin Schley, Ungesichter

Elfriede Jelinek, Die Schutzbefohlenen (available for free download at Radio version and other multimedia files via the play’s German Wikipedia page.
Maxi Obexer, Illegale Helfer (radio play)

Short Stories, Essays:
Fridolin Schley, ed. Fremd

Autobiographical Testimony by Refugees:
Cornelia von Schelling and Andrea Stickel, eds. Die Hoffnung im Gepäck: Begegnungen mit Geflüchteten

In the Fremd collection above, as well as in recent work by José F. A. Oliver and Caroline Bergvall

Documentary Features:
“My Escape”