“Everything that I have, I carry with me.” This is how Leonard Auberg’s account begins when, at the end of the Second World War and at the age of 17, he is deported from Transylvania in Romania to a Soviet labour camp. He spends 5 years there and becomes acquainted with those who suffered the same fate, with hunger, the cold, and back-breaking work. At the end of his time, he bares almost no resemblance to the young man he once was, who also saw his imprisonment as a welcome release from the tight moral corset of his origins.
With powerful eloquence and haunting images, Herta Müller writes about the struggle to remain human under inhumane conditions and the struggle for one’s own life in the face of heteronomy. Her book is a literary distillation of conversations with victims, in particular with the poet Oskar Pastio who, as a member of the German minority in Romania, was deported to a Soviet camp for forced labour.
The director Bastian Kraft brings Herta Müller’s novel to the stage of Depot 1. His most recent production in Cologne was the highly acclaimed production of Sartre’s Dirty Hands.