Between the years 1949 and 1990 roughly four million people left the GDR for West Germany. ‘West’ (adapted from the book Lagerfeuer Julia Franck – now published as West in English by Harvill Secker/Vintage Books) tells the story of a young mother, who together with her son, leaves the GDR to try for a new beginning in the West. She soon discovers, however, that she has to undergo more interrogations by the Allied secret services who treat many refugees with the suspicion that they may be working for the Stasi. The Emergency Refugee Centre turns from a place of safety into a cold war location, proving once more that one cannot leave without taking along one’s past.
With great personal and political power, ‘West’ shows the difficulties of daring to start a new life - if the past has taken away all faith.