Nathalie Bertrams

Location: Brussels, Belgium
Nationality: German
Biography: Nathalie Bertrams is an award-winning freelance photographer and journalist who publishes in major newspapers such as The Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Al Jazeera, De Groene Amsterdammer and the Mail & Guardian. She is a National... read on
Public Story
Credits: nathalie bertrams/dafna gazit
Date of Work: 03/15/17 - 04/30/17
Updated: 09/22/17
Location: Holot, Israel

Outcast - in collaboration with Dafna Gazit

Some 45,000 Africans who fled war in South Sudan, genocide in Darfur and military dictatorship in Eritrea have sought shelter in Israel. They had to make a dangerous journey through Sudan and the dangerous Sinai Peninsula in Egypt - but Israel does not grant these refugees asylum.

Instead, under the "Anti-Infiltration Act", all male African migrants are confined for twelve months in Holot camp in the southern Negev desert. There they are being pressured to accept voluntary deportation to their home country or a 'safe third country' like Uganda or Rwanda. More than 3,000 Africans are held in Holot, in an open detention camp. The prisoners are allowed to go out into the desert, but if they miss the check-ins or do not return overnight, they are jailed in the neighbouring Saharonim prison. Holot is a kind of 'no man's land' that is intended to break the will of the detainees – in order to accept their voluntary deportation.

The strategy that Israel is applying is also spreading in Europe. In an attempt to prevent political crises and bypassing the UN refugee convention, governments have begun to deport 'unwanted' people into places where they are illegal or in danger. Refugees fleeing from war and oppression find themselves exposed to insecurity and exploitation instead of finding safety and security. Israel’s dealings with African migrants showcase what a closed-door refugee policy is heading for.

By Nathalie Bertrams —


The Forgotten People

By Nathalie Bertrams — The Forgotten People An estimated 450.000 stateless Palestinians live in Lebanon, descendants of the refugees who were seeking shelter from the..

The Guests, Turkey

By Nathalie Bertrams — The Guests, Turkey Turkey hosts more than 2.5 million Syrians displaced by the ongoing war in the neighbouring state, more than any other country...

Flower of Paradise

By Nathalie Bertrams — The village of Aweday near Harar in Southeastern Ethiopia is at the heart of the Ethiopian khat trade (or qat (Yemen), miraa (Kenya), marungi..

Die Kas – Namakwaland, South Africa

By Nathalie Bertrams — Die Kas – Namakwaland, South Africa Die Kas – Afrikaans for ‘the closet’ – is the nickname of the poor part of Okiep, a small town in the..

Naija, you dey kolo

By Nathalie Bertrams — Naija, you dey kolo (Nigeria, you are crazy) The photo series travels to Abuja to find images resonating like memories between the urban centre..

The Sangomas of Mthatha

By Nathalie Bertrams — AH DALIBANDLA The Sangomas of Southern Africa are the traditional healers, the respected guardians of knowledge and traditional African medicine...

The Garimpeiros of Bandire

By Nathalie Bertrams — The Garimpeiros of Bandire - Sustainable gold mining in Manica Province, Mozambique Manica Province in central Mozambique is experiencing a gold..
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