The interior of an East German supermarket has been recreated in a film studio where actors reenact a violent incident for an audience of 10. A troubled Kurdish man starts arguing with a cashier, and bystanders intervene, violently throwing him to the ground before taking him outside and tying him to a tree.
Every so often the two moderators stop the action to add some background information. We learn that the Kurdish man is 21-year-old Schabas Saleh Al-Aziz. He took the 4,000-kilometer “Balkan route” from Iraq to Germany in hopes of getting treatment for his epilepsy. He has been abandoned by all the organizations that could have helped him. In 2017, a year after the supermarket incident and a week before the trial began, he was found frozen to death in a forest.
TV screens show interviews with witnesses at the trial, which was dismissed in 2018, and excerpts from news footage that provide the context of racial tensions in a poor and depleted former East Germany. After the reenactment, audience members talk about the hardening of the debate around migration, and increasing racism. They also attempt to judge the actions of the vigilantes—at what point does heroic intervention become excessive street justice?