Tensions flare in Germany over housing for asylum-seekers

Your average middleclass German (country class!) is rising up to oppose plans by the government elite (ruling class!) to put asylum-seekers (from mostly Muslim countries) in their neighborhoods.  I wonder why?—here, perhaps, is one reason we posted earlier this week.

Berlin here we come! Fall 2012 pro-immigrant march. Note the red flag with the clenched fist—it’s not a sign of peace.

From AP at ABC News:

Daniel Krawczyk is convinced bad things will happen to his Berlin neighborhood once the refugees move in: “They’ll break into our basements,” he says, “steal our kids’ cell phones, bring crime and violence and take away our jobs.”

The 29-year-old janitor in the eastern outskirts of Berlin is among many locals up in arms over the city’s plans to turn an empty high school into a center for up to 400 asylum seekers, part of growing opposition to refugee shelters across the country.

The boat-is-full mentality in Germany is finding an echo in the government: “Even an economically strong country like Germany is considerably challenged” by the influx, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said recently, in an apparent attempt to reflect voter fears two months ahead of general elections. Meanwhile the far-right is exploiting anti-refugee fears, seeking new supporters as its members participate in rallies against new asylum shelters.


About 43,000 people applied for asylum in Germany in the first six months of 2013, almost double the roughly 23,000 for the same period in 2012. While the numbers are a far cry from the hundreds of thousands who flowed into Germany at the height of the 1990s Yugoslavia wars, German cities still find themselves struggling to cope with the influx of recent refugees, mainly from Syria, Chechnya and Afghanistan [likely all Muslims!—ed]. Germany is the top destination for refugees to the European Union, followed by Sweden, France and Britain, all of which also received thousands of asylum applications during the last few months.

Backlash by the middle class was swift!

….. Berlin authorities were caught off guard by the hostile backlash in Hellersdorf — a neighborhood that is almost entirely German — and by the speed with which the far-right, anti-immigrant National Democratic Party moved to exploit that anger.

No sooner had the plan been announced than posters appeared proclaiming “Nein zum Heim” — “No to the Shelter.” Leaflets and a Facebook page warned that the neighborhood would be overrun with thieves, littered with garbage and that the playground would no longer be safe for German children.

To hell with what the residents think!

Despite the resistance, Berlin authorities insist they will push ahead with the center, although they have postponed moving asylum seekers into the building — and won’t say when the move will take place.

Read it all!

Why is it that most times the country class ‘gets-it’ intuitively?

Maybe the German government needs to look to Switzerland for a new plan (btw this was our top post yesterday and was read around the world!).

Check out our category on Europe with its 400-plus posts on problems there.

The Photo can be found here.

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