Anne Lauppe-Dunbar is moved by an exhibition exploring the lives of Europeans who travelled or fled to Wales between 1750 and 2015, which brings to mind her mother’s flight from Germany, her own journey to Wales, and the current refugee crisis.
by Anne Lauppe-Dunbar
On 9 November, 1947, my mother fled from the Soviet zone to West Germany. She recalls her flight from East to West as a silent, terrifying passage across no-man's-land. The dream of following her true calling, her Roter Faden or ‘red thread’ – to learn, work, and live within the anthroposophical movement created by Rudolf Steiner – was the reason for her escape, as well as the conviction that the Germany she had seen through the war years was not her home.
Home is very much on my mind as I shoulder my raincoat and head along Mumbles bay. The sea is the colour of spit. Grumpy clouds smudge out the flares of Port Talbot. There will be no sunset tonight to light the windows of Swansea. All week, come evening, cwtched up warm with my tea, I have stared at a television screen filled with plastic boats that wobble across an ocean. Their cargo? People whose fear has burned itself so tight to bone, they are hardly able to breathe. Clad in life jackets, they stumble to shore and the possibility of life. The word on my lips is like a silent prayer: refugees. What to do, what to do? More than a million people have arrived in Europe as of December 2015. 331,000 (and counting) have settled in Germany – the chosen land.Sign in to read more
Anne Lauppe-Dunbar is a fiction writer and lecturer in Creative Writing at Swansea University. Her parents were born in Germany and both survived the war to meet in South Africa where they married and where Anne was born. The family left Africa during apartheid and went to Germany, then on to Scotland, eventually settling in the UK. Anne went on to Wales.