Achim Müller

Thief Child

The pickpocket kid came into this world 1990 somewhere in Romania in the region Timisoara. He can hardly remember Timisoara, the Orthodox cathedral he can at least. Also those high apartment blocks in the outskirts in an industrial township of Timisoara where he has not been for years now. He lived in a small village Recas 25 kilometres east of Timisoara in a shelter-home. That he can still remember. Germans had founded the home. There was another baby there too. He liked the old bread factory opposite the lung hospital not far from his home, in Recas, It always smelt so delicious there. The Germans, whom children called Nenea (in English guys) he liked too. They cared for the children. Also he got his name from the Germans, since his real name was unknown. Valentin, was given to him, because he was baptised on 14 February. On the area of the home there was a large Romanian house, which the Germans had refurbished. The Germans had also a smaller house, that looked like a large restaurant from the outside there was a kitchen with enormous fires and a huge washing machine too. Right beside there was small stone house, but as he was so small, he thought, that only a kind of troll could live in it. Someone told him that, even. However there was only a huge stove inside. As he was 6 years old he crept in there to spend some time with his pals, and the „monster“ „stared“ at them. Many pipes, and an absolutely massive machine was indeed at the back. On the machine a lettering was stuck, with some writings that he believed for one year that lead to a treasure. Once the Nenea from Germany read the words for him, and he learnt them by heart. Beside the heating plant room a there was a semi-buried oil tank, on which one could climb to peep away, even though it was forbidden. Now and then Germans came and visited the home. Men and women from Germany did not only come, but also worked there for some time. He stayed, apart from the Romanian educators, with a young woman who caressed and cuddled him and he loved her dearly and loved him too. When they left he stayed all time crying for three days.
One day at about 8 in the evening, some strangers came to the home, they were Romanian men. They watched some of the children and went away. Two days later he and another boy, who was 10 years old were fetched. They were driven away on a car. They both got sick in the car and dirtied inside it. That was because none of them had ever been driven so far away. They had never either been beaten. Anyhow the car drove very far away, as far as Bucharest. Where he was going nobody had told him. If he asked, the answer was shut up. He fell asleep, and so the travel did not seem so long to him.
He was taken to a dingy house in the outskirts of Bucharest, where a Romanian Nenea with other 4 children lived. He was left there, while the other boy from Recas continued the trip with the two men. The Nenea was very unfriendly. Valentin was totally terrorised as he was abandoned and locked in a room, in which there was only a large mattress on the floor, on which another boy slept. He did the same, anyhow. When the door behind Valentin finally opened, he looked up. Valentin sat down to it on the mattress and wanted to talk with him. Just be quiet, if we speak, he will beat us. The other boy was 12 years old and wore rather dingy clothes and stank too. In addition he was hungry. Valentin had not yet experienced real hunger.
The next morning he had his clothes taken away, and given dingy ones and torn shoes and a notice with a writing. Apart from 5 children of 6 to 12 years, all of them boys, there were two adults in the dwelling. Someone told him that he had been bought, and much money paid for him. Therefore he should now do what he was asked for, so that he could make enough money to pay his debts back.
He could not understand how could he owe anything to these people. He was not allowed to go out in the days, and was beaten an the slightest intent to answer anything. The only thing he is was learning how to beg.
As he was very young, he got a lettering saying “MURITORI DE FOAME“ (We are starving) hanged on him. Thus he and two other boys were led to beg by an adult. He should collect money but nothing to eat. If he had anything to eat whatsoever, he was not allowed to eat it and had to hand it away. Only a hungry cat works well, it was said. In addition, he got really very few to eat from the adults.
He started then to go to beg without adults, just with the other children. They told him often that if he tried to run away they‘d find him and kill him. They also punished them all. So he became docile and handed out all he got. The older had Aurolac (silver varnish) they sniffed from plastic bags and so didn‘t feel so cold and hungry. He also tried it some times, but he got so sick from it that he would not any longer use it. He got a chance to get a supplementary meal. He found out that there were foreign charity trusts that fed the street children. The Swiss were particularly good to him.
It was fun to ride the trams, by sitting at the rear trailer coupling and ride along. It was not exempt of danger for street kids but he did not have much time for it however. If he could not gather enough money, he was terribly beaten in the evening and got nothing to eat.
Then he was sent to pick pocketing. The most frequent booty were wallets and purses. He was instructed by the adults, and the young practised among themselves. For instance the „thee-way-one“. One distracted the tourist, the second one robbed the tourist and passed it on very fast to the third one who ran away. If the one who had made the pick was caught and imprisoned they found no prey on him. That is a classical pickpocket trick they rehearsed and practised in many variants. If they had not made enough booty, then they were punished, beaten, kicked, and even given electrical shocks with an electrifying device.
Particularly children who had to work the streets as gigolos were tortured without being beaten, so that they‘d get no bruises which would „reduce their value“. The clients would always think that the kids were taking part in that by their own will. They gave them diazepam linked with this, as „stay still tablets“. Taken in higher doses it make time go by easier, so that everything felt the same. It prevents you to feel much pain either.
For several months they pick pocketed tourists around Bucharest: money, watches, cheques, credit cards, cameras, video devices and identity papers. All this they brought to their Nenea, and he made big money out of it
After that he was sold away, and taken to Florence, Italy, for some days with an 11 year old girl from the banat who joined the group. Mean the while Valentin, even being so young, became a great pickpocket professional, so he was kept away from the sex business to a large extent.
He could not get help from the Bucharest police. Bucharest street kids are sore afraid of the police, which usually perform violent abuses against them. He was afraid of being sent to a correction centre. Romanian reformatories and youth prisons in Bucharest are loathsome and feared by kids. Therefore, the child serves his Nenea. By the boy‘s own reckoning, it would be worse out of the streets than in them.
So came the day to leave Bucharest. He went to Italy, to the touristic centre of Venice. Probably he has been sold once and again. He was promised a trip anyhow. He was taken by some people in a car to Austria, a Romanian couple took him away, he got a passport as if he were their son. The trip lasted two or three days, and they drove through a long tunnel into Italy. There was snow when the car entered the tunnel, and then there was not anymore at the exit, it was warm and the sun shone.
They joined other people in a hostel for refugees near Venice. There were a few Romanians but mostly Albanians. He got a new name, and new parents‘ names he had to learn by heart, and a new birthday and address he had to memorise as well.
The people who pretended being his parents received new documents and regularly some money too.
The morning after he was fetched again and together with other 3 boys and a girl and driven to Venice. They passed over a very long bridge on the sea and arrived in Venice. At the other end they parked in a multi-storey parking, where cars remained open with their keys in the contact lock Nobody would have dare do that in Bucharest. The park watchers arranged the parking when it was needed, and moved the cars from one part into another. They all had their keys left inside.
In Venice he did the as me as he had been doing in Bucharest, he pick pocketed all the time, except they were all tourists.
Trying to escape there was useless either. Others had tried and had not succeeded. Those who had laid now in the bottom of the lagoon. But life was easier in Italy and the food was better than in Bucharest. Almost every morning the children were taken in the car to Venice to pickpocket and came back in the evenings. Those who were captured had to be set free again. He was twice sent to the asylum and twice his pretended parents came to pick him up.
He managed fairly well in escaping the Carabinieri (policeman) in Venice, because if he was caught, he was dreadfully beaten, as he had had his fingerprints and his photo taken by the Italian police.
He was also taken with two other children to a large mansion, were sexual intercourse took place between him and the other kids, and with adults too. Once he had to kneel down on the floor and open his mouth, and four men ejaculated into it.
He was then photographed and filmed. Once he tried to refuse. Then he was taken away naked and pushed head down into a bath tub full of cold water and punished by having his head underwater for a long time, until he was almost drown and had swallowed a lot of water. He was afraid he could die. They even filmed that too.
In Venice he entered a place forbidden by the police and he was going to be sent to court and judged.
So he was taken to Austria and from there to Munich. And then sold again. He remained in Munich only for a few days, and then was taken to Berlin in a beautiful train. The train was as clean as a very expensive car, such trains could not be seen in Bucharest.
The train travelled for a long time and he was shown into a bedroom in the train where he slept. A German and a Romanian were with him, and they had a lot of money.
In Berlin he arrived once again to a hostel for refugees, and got once again new parents. With these people there was a 13 year old rroma (gipsy) too, who pretended himself a white Romanian (note: Romanian don‘t consider rrom/gipsies as Romanian).
Among the refugees there were often pretended sons and daughters with pretended parents and false documents. He went for the first time to a school in Berlin at the age of 10 or 11. The Nenea had to bear this with grinning teeth as he did not want to get into trouble with the German authorities.
He also got a complete skinhead shave, so he could not so easily be recognised as a foreigner. This way he could pickpocket much more easily. He slowly started to learn German in Berlin. He was very busy in Berlin too, joining into a team of other pickpocket kids he brought a fortune to his torturer. He had to practise sex too.
After half a year he had been caught several times, but the German policemen were as stupid as the Italian, and brought him back once and again to his pretended parents. Yet this time they did not take his picture.
The Romanians and Albanians from the refugees hostel practised robberies together with the Yugoslavians, braking into houses by night. They also stole cars as per an order.
His pretended father was arrested then and put in arrest for expatriation.
But Valentin remained with his pretended mother in the refugees hostel
Some months later he was picked up early one morning by the Federal Immigration Police and sent back to Bucharest. In fact he did not wish to get to Bucharest. Adults expelled from Germany are taken by the police in Bucharest.
He was taken by a man from the train, who knew his name, and told him to come along fast and that he would help him to run away.
He and the man came out of the station undisturbed, even though there were policemen all over the platforms. But he had been too happy all too soon, as this man was part of the gang of the Nenea, who was going to be able to catch him, wherever he hid. He had menaced him like that quite often.
The corrupt Romanian authorities kept these people undercover. The guy took him to a photographer and took new passport pictures for Valentin. He drove him to a hotel out of Bucharest. There they spent two days.
Then he was brought to a truck and driven very far away, to Yugoslavia. It was at war, and everything was broken down and bombed. He saw many armed people. The guy was a Romanian and had papers for Valentin which falsely proved that he was his son, but then he had again to learn another name and another birthday. It did not mind to him, Valentin could not remember his real birthday anymore.
The truck was loaded with building materials and probably was smuggling no matter what.
In Yugoslavia he found funny that everything was paid in German marks. They drove for a long time. Valentin thinks the trip went on through Hungarian and Austria. Anyway, he one morning woke up and found himself in Germany.
He was fetched by a German man on a motorway. With him he passed over the bridge to the other side, where the cars were driving the other way. Then Valentin was taken to Cologne in a big Mercedes. The travel lasted 1 or 2 hours. They guy tried to beat Valentin a pair of times.
If Valentin had not moved away he would have got beaten.
In Cologne the old story started once again. He entered again a refugees home. It was here much more shabby than in Berlin.
His new parents were also much older. However, he was sent to school again. From his papers he was now 12 years old, and he also got a new name. The Nenea’s from Cologne were much tougher, and they went out to break into houses by night again, and robbed stuff from safes too. They dragged them away and burst them open somewhere in the forests. One of them had a hiding place in the forests and lived there.
In Cologne he had to go pick pocketing with the other kids again. The cathedral place and the surrounding pedestrian areas were their district. The station was taboo for him, that was another district.
He was also sent to prostitute himself. Cutie (sweetie) is how gays, who bought him now and again from his Nenea, called the young boys. Fewer films and pictures were made, but instead he had disgusting sex with his mouth and his anus. Once he tried to refuse, because the guy who was trying to take him had already hurt him that way.
Prostitution in Cologne was run by special pimps, who hired the kids for some days and passed them on. Injuries and bruises reduce the price of lolitas (girls) and cuties (boys), as children who work the streets are called, therefore children were always punished in such a way as no visible traces remained.
I have pondered long if I should describe such a punishment, because they are really inhuman. So I will tell that for the first time. After you refuse to prostitute yourself you are taken by a group of pimps, and some of the boys have to watch as a deterrence measure. The group leader bound him the hands with a leather belt on his back and tied his feet together with a belt too. Then the others immobilise him and take a thin plastic bag, the kind you use for shopping, and pull it over his head. He resisted with all his might, but with no success. Before he fell unconscious, he dirtied his trousers. He had a deadly anguish. There were rumors about children being killed among the pickpocket kids for a long time then. The Neneas had threaten him with that, whoever runs away or talks to the police is killed. Therefore nobody talks to the police, they would risk their lives. Unpleasant witnesses disappear without a trace at the first occasion.
The pimps and the Neneas among themselves resolve their inner disputes with extreme brutality. Often there were shootings and they were murdered without even being menaced. It concerned particularly drugs, sex and videos.
Valentin (who already speaks German well) had already thought once of asking the police for assistance. It was a police woman, who was patrolling the Cathedral Square with her colleague, he followed her for 2º minutes but did not have himself the courage to ask the police for help. The Nenea should never find out how well he managed in German, it was for his own safety he didn‘t.
The teachers at the school were also absolutely blind. They punished him because he missed or did not so his homework. How could he make his homework if he had to go pick pocketing in the afternoon, and till late in the evening? And how can one go to school if he‘s rented right away by a pimp, willing or not?
He was taken by the police several times in Cologne too, and he was of course as the old story went, given away to his pretended parents. The police does not have ever enough time to help in any way. They have no idea.
When he was taken for the third time the police changed tactics. They sent him to a correction home. In order to punish him ant to have him scorned. Here it went well to him for the first time in a long period. None forces him to make sex, he must not steal or pickpocket, he is not tormented and he‘s not beaten.
But what‘s he now afraid of? He‘s afraid that the Nenea gets him from the home. He‘s afraid of him being sent back to Bucharest. That annihilates him, and hopes, but does not forget. No child would like to remain forgotten in a shelter, but Valentin prays everyday to be. Even though there is nobody in the home who knows his real name, nobody knows his secret either. Nonsensically it‘s stated in his false papers that he‘s Romanian, and he‘s being under the expatriation procedure.
La revedere! (good bye)

Achim Müller


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Achim Müller.
Published on on 20.07.2004.


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