Hans-Georg has joined

  • 24 December 2021
  • 1 reply

Userlevel 2

I’m Hans-Georg (he/his) or just Hans, if the double name is too awkward. I’m German, but still got a taste of what it means to be unable to travel the world. I grew up in East Germany, the former GDR, a country in which the German word “Weltreise” (voyage around the world) was removed from dictionaries and in which people were shot when trying to cross the border. Think of the Berlin Wall.


I eventually escaped, along with a circle of friends, which took three years of preparation. West Germany recognizes all Germans, no matter where they lived. So for me it was only all too easy to walk into the office and get a passport. Now that I’m reading here, I understand how lucky I was and still am.


Looking for a job, I got a job offer that I could not refuse. One of my escaped friends and I went to East Africa, working on a computer system for foreign trade statistics in Nairobi, Kenya. A year later Kenya had become my second home. Geographically I knew it much better than West Germany. I knew where the Kenyan towns, mountains and rivers were. Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Marsabit, Malindi and Lamu were places I visited and knew. But in Western Europe, I barely knew the big cities. I had only a very rough clue where the German city of Regensburg was or Münster, Trier or Freiburg. I believed that the Austrian capital Vienna was south of Munich. (In fact it is east, even slightly north-east, from Munich.)


Learning how difficult it is for a stateless person to travel abroad has me stunned. If I can, I will try to help. I was thinking of a petition, but the difficulty here is that the vast majority of people has no clue what statelessness means and might therefore not sign. One could still give it a try, but it seems the first aim can only be educating people, particularly politicians.

1 reply

Userlevel 5
Badge +1

Hi Hans-Georg, welcome! It’s nice to hear that learning about statelessness sparked your motivation to do something about the issue. As you mentioned already, raising awareness and educating people is a very crucial first step into the right direction. Great that you decided to join us in this mission.