The paper deals with the portrayal of bureaucracy in Gehen, ging, gegangen (2015) by Jenny Erpenbeck, a novel that explores the European migrant cri-sis through the eyes of Richard, a recently retired professor of classics, who begins to interview refugees in Berlin. Erpenbeck’s work is a compendium of refugees’ stories, a novel about displaced persons in kafkaesque bureaucratic situations. The author describes two worlds, which ostensibly have nothing to do with each other : that of the widowed classical philologist and the young men from Guinea, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mali. Their lives and mindscapes are fundamentally different from one anothers. While Richard occupies himself more and more intensely with the refugees by giving help and German les-sons, the reader becomes increasingly familiar with a much bigger problem relating to the fact that these young men are not allowed to work or travel: the German bureaucracy and the legislation of the European Union have damned them to idleness. Without any real prospects, they simply hang around together, sometimes with more and sometimes with less patience.