They now fear that the smart middle-aged Finnish woman may have mental health problems.
Dressed in black, with her blonde hair tied neatly in a bun she looks elegant as she wanders around the terminal buildings, occasionally stopping to read something or stare at the electronic message boards. But Jaana J, 40, is not in transit. She has been living at Berlin's Tegel and Schoenefeld airports and sleeping on benches as the planes take off nearby for months.
She fled her native Finland in December and moved to the German capital, leaving behind her parents, her home, and her good job as a doctor. Jaana travelled to Berlin’s Tegel airport, spread out a newspaper, took her shoes off and went to sleep.
Her life bears a startling resemblance to hit film The Terminal, where Tom Hanks plays a man forced to live in an airport in the US. But unlike the movie character, Jaana isn't staying in the terminal out of choice.
She isn't bothered that she doesn't carry any identification or official papers.
Workers at Tegel, who were worried about her, called the police. Officers took her to a hospital where she got psychiatric care. But Jaana was released just a few days later. Jaana has since lived at Berlin’s other airport, Schoenefeld, and is tolerated because she never approaches anyone.
Sometimes she is woken up by police on their routine patrol in Terminal A. She tells them in English: “I don’t have any documents, but I am an EU citizen.”
Every morning she goes into the bathroom, puts on her make-up, cleans herself and straightens her clothes – everything has to look right in her world.
Her family want to bring her back to Finland and it is thought she could be schizophrenic. There is already a medical certificate for compulsory hospitalisation in a Finnish clinic.
But German authorities don’t want to put her on a plane home against her will, because she isn’t incapacitated. Katrin-Elena Schoenberg, 43, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said: “It would only be necessary to forcibly return her in extreme circumstances. There is no legal reason to. A new expert has confirmed that she isn’t in need of emergency medical care.”
Janna J. was notably bewildered when she spoke to a reporter. She said: “Jaana is dead. She died in hospital in Finland. I never want to go back.”