Refugees Receive Shelter, Solace In Germany

28 minutes ago

Last week, at the headquarters of the social agency responsible for registering asylum seekers in Berlin, I spoke with Syrians and Afghans who showed me photos of the arduous journeys they had made to reach Berlin and the crowded hallways of schools and hotels where they slept. Despite waiting for days to register their case, uncertain as to where they would find shelter at night, many had nothing but praise for the warm welcome they have received in Germany.

Twenty-six-year-old Zano Shino was among them, distributing clothing donations he had helped collect from Berlin's Kurdish community. He told me he wanted to pay forward the kindness that strangers had shown his family when they arrived in Germany 20 years ago, after his father had fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq and received asylum in Germany. Here, as his father had hoped, they found peace and security. No other country in the world was doing so much to help so many, he said: Germany is a place one can be proud to call home.

Over the weekend, signs emerged that there are limits to how long the welcome mat may stay out. On Sunday, as 12,000 migrants arrived daily in Munich (the end of the trail into Europe through the Balkans), German officials announced border controls would be immediately introduced in parts of the country to stem the tide.  The timing of the move, however - one day before a meeting of all 28 EU interior ministers in Brussels -  suggests it may be a way to pressure reluctant EU member states into finally forging a common European solution, a move resisted by the UK, Poland, Slovakia and other nations that have largely dodged the migrant tide thus far.