Thousands of refugees receive warm welcome in Germany

Published: September 6, 2015
In Munich, refugee families holding their children and few belongings smiled as they were greeted with cheers, food and water bottles by crowds late Saturday. PHOTO: AFP

In Munich, refugee families holding their children and few belongings smiled as they were greeted with cheers, food and water bottles by crowds late Saturday. PHOTO: AFP

MUNICH: Germany on Sunday readied for hundreds more refugees to arrive from Hungary via Austria, a day after thousands were greeted, often by volunteers holding signs that read “Welcome to Germany”.

The most populous EU nation – which this year expects to take in a record 800,000 people fleeing war and poverty – has seen an unprecedented volunteer effort to help the newcomers.

On Saturday alone about 8,000 migrants crossed German borders, federal police told AFP.

Read: Madrid follow Bayern, donate €1 million for refugees

In Munich, refugee families holding their children and few belongings smiled as they were greeted with cheers, food and water bottles by crowds.

At the Munich railway station about 6,800 arrived Saturday alone, said Bavarian state officials.

As refugees got off trains, police directed them to waiting buses to take them to temporary shelters, which have been set up in public buildings, hotels and army barracks across the country.

Read: Finnish prime minister offers to host refugees at his country home

Dozens of people, standing behind barriers, whistled, clapped and filmed the newcomers with their mobile phones.

“The people here treat us so well, they treat us like real human beings, not like in Syria,” said Mohammad, a 32-year-old from the devastated town of Qusayr, whose eyes welled up with tears as he spoke.

While Germany has seen a spate of ugly xenophobic rallies and attacks against foreigners, it has also seen an outpouring of support, donations and volunteer efforts by people who believe Germany, given its dark history and current wealth, has a special obligation to help refugees.

At Frankfurt railway station overnight, food, water and clothes were piled high for the newcomers, while hundreds of people thronged the platforms.

When the doors of the trains opened, people cheered and whistled and a chant went up in English: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

Read: Bono offers support to Syrian refugees at U2 concert

One man, an Egyptian, who gave his name as Mustafa and said he had been living in Frankfurt for 20 years, was carrying an Arabic-language cardboard sign which he said spelled “warm welcome”.

Lara Sabbagh, a volunteer for an organisation called Kleeblatt based near Frankfurt, acted as a translator for some of the Syrian refugees.

She told bystanders to stop taking photographs, saying: “They?re afraid. They say they’ve just fled from their country and their ruler and don?t want to be photographed”.

She added that many of the migrants “didn’t understand all the commotion here.

“They asked me, ‘What are all these people doing here? What do they want?’

“They didn’t understand that people were here to welcome them.”

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • Parvez
    Sep 6, 2015 - 4:29PM

    Well done Germany.Recommend

  • ZAK
    Sep 6, 2015 - 4:34PM

    German support for refugees is applaudable. We appreciate German attitude toward human beings.Recommend

  • Imran
    Sep 6, 2015 - 5:33PM

    Refugees or sleeper cells only time will tell. One day these “refugees” will decapitate the very people who fed and gave them shelter. Thanks to Angela Merkel.Recommend

  • Stranger
    Sep 6, 2015 - 6:07PM

    Hail Germans …. But this has to end … cant go on forever. Recommend

  • Bewildered
    Sep 6, 2015 - 6:21PM

    What a turn around in Germans attitude if the news is not some kind of agitprop. Last time I visited Germany (well that is quite some time now — 20+ years) I found Germans the most racially obsessive people in Europe and the ‘ausländers’ (a pejorative for refugees) were treated like sub-humans not allowed to move freely or work and confined in ‘wohnungs’ of 6’x8′ with multilevel bedding and a common bathroom for the entire floor.Recommend

  • Javeed
    Sep 7, 2015 - 2:35AM

    Two days ago, the Show Master Mr Elster, beamed a talk show, which was repeated in the Saarlaenischer TV in order to tarnish the image of Pakistan. A young German women visited the tribal areas of Taliban in North Pakistan and she and her friend were abducted. As I told this incident happened in 2008, but the incident was now again repeated 3 days ago, as if Pakistan is full of Taliban. Many European tourists come to North Pakistan and invent some fictive histories and write travel books. The books contain evil stories and in this way they earn a lot of money. Our embassies are doing anything to stop this malicious propaganda against Pakistan. The German TV journalists are basically dishonest people. In Germany the media is trying very hard to see the demise of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Das boot
    Sep 7, 2015 - 11:28AM

    Germany would now have Shariah law soon.Recommend

  • Javeed
    Sep 7, 2015 - 5:49PM

    The Pakistani readership is NO more allowed to write any comments in Indian newspapers. Previously is was always possible. One can see India has become a strong enemy of Pakistan after Faku Modi took his office as the Prime Minister of India. So why Hindus are writing (see the comments Das Boot or Imran) evil comments in this newspaper? Please do NOT publish the letters of the Hindus. The Hindus are basically snakes and they have always been the enemies of Muslims and Pakistan. The Hindus want to appease the people with white skin (Europeans); this is this basic mentality. Recommend

More in World