Outside the doors of the Wanteraktioun

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

More and more people rely on the Wanteraktioun (WAK) to avoid freezing to death on the streets of Luxembourg at night. We were outside the night foyer to talk to these people and get a little insight into their lives.

"First time here?" The security guard in front of the WAK (Wanteraktioun) tilts his head and asks: "Français, Deutsch? English?" "German", I answer, "First time. But I just want to stay here in front of the door." The officer makes a questioning sound but nods towards the door. He apparently does not hear the explanation that I am a journalist and that I want to get an impression of the situation here. Those who visit the WAK at Findel for the first time do not need to register, but afterwards they have to. No one is left standing outside the door the first night because they don't know the rules yet. Music and the clinking of cutlery on plates sound through the door. I don't go in, but sit down on the frost-covered railing in front of the door – the smokers' corner. The WAK is a haven for people spending the night here because they have no place else to do so. They don't need uninvited guests invading this last private sphere as well. This is the reason why there are no names or photos in this article showing people.

It is shortly after 9 pm and the entrance area is bustling. This winter, there were already an unusually large number of people here early in the year. But since temperatures have repeatedly dropped below zero at night, more and more people are seeking refuge from the cold. 250 beds are waiting for them, lockable cupboards, showers and warm food. Security guards measure the body temperature of each new arrival, check the backpacks and bags – some have more, some less: A doddering woman just coming around the corner is fully packed, the man in front of her comes empty-handed. The small groups in front of the door are not paying attention to what is happening. Some are engrossed in conversation, most are silent and smoking. A man with a harlequin cap, his medical mask pulled under his chin, comes up to me as he rolls a cigarette, "You're a journalist?" I nod, "M-hmm." "You'll have to watch your step here then. There's been some trouble …"

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