FuGeeLa: Refugees in Berlin #4


Every week there are news about the situation of refugees in Berlin. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening and how you can help. This is the English version of an article in cooperation with Mit Vergnügen, hier kannst du ihn auf Deutsch lesen.

Number of the week

2.300 | That’s how many people, among them 800 minors, are currently residing in three hangars at the former airport Tempelhof. That the living conditions are less than acceptable is reported in this week’s Zitty issue. Last weekend, the first big fight happened.

How’s the situation at the registration office, LaGeSo?

The company responsible for security, Gegenbauer, has to leave. Not only because of last week’s video showing a guard hating on refugees.

By now, even the New York Times has reported on the chaotic process refugees have to face: “This is not a refugee crisis. This is an administration crisis.” Last Sunday night saw a protest in front of the department. More than 85.000 have signed a petition to stop the “inhumane conditions” at LaGeSo, a press conference has been held by the initiators, where they expressed their demands.

Politician and presiding vice officer of the German parliament, Claudia Roth of the Greens visited the LaGeSo and was shocked about the conditions. She’s heavily accusing mayor Michael Müller for the situation in an open letter, reports Spiegel.

To re-organize the handling of refugees and release LaGeSo, Berlin’s senate wants to establish a new office for refugee issues.

What’s the city of Berlin doing?

There have been big fights in at least two of the shelters, and the only thing the senator for home affairs, Frank Henkel, had to say was “There’re rules in our country. We have other shelters for those not conforming. With locked windows and doors.”

The main question, however, must be, whether it’s appropriate or acceptable to house so many people in a confined space with limited hygienic standards and no privacy. The Flüchtlingsrat demands to close the hangars.

In the meantime, SPD and CDU agreed to not only use the hangars and the main building, but also the four properties around the airfield until end of 2019 for mobile refugee homes, says the F.A.Z. That would mean, that the referendum of 2014 is practically suspended. Next Monday, the initiative “100% Tempelhofer Feld” will hold an information event.

And they’re looking for more areas to build refugee homes on.

Any good news?

The story of Alex Assali has been shared on social media before, and now even made it to TV. The Syrian prepares hot food for Berlin’s homeless of his monthly allowance of 350 Euros, to give something back to Germany.

How can you help this week?

#HelpDontHate started yesterday, an initiative by Berlin bloggers who want to collect money to support aid organizations like Flüchtlinge Willkommen, who help find houses and mentors, Über den Tellerrand kochen, who organize community cooking events, and Kiron Open Higher Education, who strive to offer free education to refugees. All infos on “Help Don’t Hate – Wir spenden für Geflüchtete” here.

All proceeds of Kombinat Pogopop‘s Friday party at Rosis will go directly to Moabit Hilft. More info here.

On Saturday, a solidarity party for KuB, a consulting and contact ressource for refugees, is happening at Gretchen. Entry is free for refugees, and between 7 and 10 Euros for everyone else. All info here.

Get Involved

Information and links to initiatives in Berlin can be found on the website of Flüchtlingsrat Berlin and at bürgeraktiv. Register at volunteer planner to start helping at shelters, check Start With A Friend if you want to support and consult a refugee.

Doesn’t fit any category, but has to be featured – M.I.A.’s impressive contribution to the current refugee situation: “Borders”. What’s up with that?

This is what happened last week.


also leave a comment
  1. Kerstin Hack on


    Maybe something for the good news section?
    Berlin based publishing house has published “Willkommenskultur. Flüchtlinge kennenlernen und unterstützen”. A basic guide helping German speaking people who first want to get involved to understand background, culture and giving them ideas how to choose the right involvement.
    So far 2500+ people bought the guide – a lot for a small publishing house with only one fulltime staff. And Down to Earth has sponsored a one year sholarship at Kiron University from some of the revenue.
    The guide is also available as ebook.

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