Niederkassel woman looks at her home country in dismay "Does it matter that I am Russian?"

Niederkassel · Rita Engels has lived in Germany for 20 years. Born in Russia, she has no understanding for the current situation in Ukraine and hopes that the war will end quickly. This is what she has experienced so far.

 Rita Engels is Russian and has lived in Germany for almost 20 years. She would never have thought the situation in Ukraine possible. Photo: Hans-Werner Klinkhammels

Rita Engels is Russian and has lived in Germany for almost 20 years. She would never have thought the situation in Ukraine possible. Photo: Hans-Werner Klinkhammels

Foto: Hans-Werner Klinkhammels

Rita Engels has been living in Germany for almost 20 years. The woman, who moved to Niederkassel in February 2003 with her daughter from her first marriage, still has her Russian passport. She is currently looking with fear at what is happening in Ukraine and is dismayed by the situation in her home country. "I don't know a way out and would never have thought something like this possible," she says.

A pen friendship built a bridge from Russia to Germany for her at the end of the 1980s. Her teacher in Moscow had asked her who would be interested in writing to someone from the FRG. She had been learning German at school since the fourth grade. From then on she had contact with a young man from Troisdorf. They stayed in touch, and in 1991 she came to Germany for the first time at the age of 18. It was here that she met her future husband.

Although Rita Engels no longer has any relatives in Russia - her mother died in 1994, her father is also dead - she cannot muster any understanding for the current situation. "Haven't they learned from the past?" she asks. There is hardly a family that did not have to mourn the death of a relative in the turmoil of the Second World War. She is against war, no matter where and no matter when. "I also feel sorry for the Russian people who - at the front or in the interior - are misinformed or ill-informed. They may die and not know why."

Of course, colleagues on the job also ask what she thinks and feels. "But I have never been approached in a hostile way," she adds and is pleased that people - so far at least - know how to distinguish between the actions of the Russian president and the Russian people living here. But she also worries about very banal things: "Can I still go on holiday with a Russian passport in the near future, does it matter that I am Russian? At the same time, she would like nothing more than for the war to stop again and for people to find a way to talk to each other so that the peoples do not have to continue to suffer.

Original text: Hans-Werner Klinkhammels

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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