FuGeeLa: Refugees in Berlin #5

By Leif Hinrichsen on Flickr

Every week we hear news about the situation of refugees in Berlin. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening in the last days 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

500 | That’s how many appointments the LaGeSo arranges for one day, while only being able to handle about 200. Hence the chaos. RBB recites anonymous quotes from LaGeSo staff that reveal how catastrophic the situation really is: “The most frustrating part is, there’s no prospect it’ll get better. It’s only getting worse.

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

Still chaotic. While the responsible senator, Mario Czaja, continues to make announcements of improvements, media is quick to prove him wrong – last week he said refugees can now receive their monthly payments at the district administration offices. However, local authorities immediately denied an agreement like that existed.

Hundreds of people are still waiting every night in front of the gates for their next day’s appointments, only looked after by volunteers bringing hot tea and food. Morgenpost just spent the night there, giving a live report on their website. A video published by Center for Political Beauty shows the situation when the gates are opened at 4am.

As a result of the month long chaos, 40 lawyers joined to file criminal charges against social senator Mario Czaja, and the head of LaGeSo, Franz Allert. Both deny any responsibility, saying “it’s absurd to claim that injuries and diseases are deliberately caused by the administrations’ work.”

Sascha Langenbach, spokesperson of the responsible senate department, supports Czaja by telling the ZDF he can’t see a crisis, it’s only been four months, and the administration is doing a superb job. Head of Berlin’s CDU, Frank Henkel, is also leaping to Czaja’s defence, saying he has the hardest job in the city.

Update, Franz Allert just resigned, reacting to the pressure of mayor Müller. Social senator Czaja stays in power for now.

What’s the city of Berlin doing?

Last week’s open letter by Claudia Roth of the Greens, heavily criticized Berlin’s handling of the refugees, but reigning mayor, Michael Müller quickly denied all blame, stating that one should consider the special situation in Berlin.

A new study showed that the planned buildings to house refugees on former airport Tempelhof are too expensive and thus the Berlin senate cancelled these plans. Mobile homes will be placed onto the surfaced areas next to the airport buildings instead of the field, as taz reports. The already acquired air dome won’t be used as shelter, but for logistics, says Berliner Zeitung. Meanwhile, the situation at the biggest refugee shelter deteriorates. Berlin’s local TV station tried to report, but wasn’t allowed inside.

Any good news?

#helpdonthate, a donation rally initiated by Blogfabrik already collected over 7600 Euro! All money will go to aid organizations and volunteer projects like Flüchtlinge Willkommen, Be An Angel, Über den Tellerrand kochen and Kiron Open Higher Education. Go donate now to make them reach their goal of 10.000 Euro!


How can you help this week?

This Sunday we’ll celebrate the second issue of Warm Up at Voo Store, our very own clothing donation event, where you can donate clothes, receive raffle tickets and then win amazing prizes by fabulous Berlin companies.

Winternächte is a donation flea market where you can shop for presents and donate money at the same time. Happening Saturday and Sunday at Nirgendwo in Neukölln.

Marley Spoon, a cooking box start up, now has recipes by refugees on the menu – all proceeds will go to the initiative “Über den Tellerrand kochen“, who works on integrating refugees by cooking events.

On Dec 15th, Ronald Zehrfeld and Michaela Wiebusch will read from “Über das Meer – mit Syrern auf der Flucht” at the Berliner Ensemble, all proceeds will go to Freedomus, an association supporting refugees in Berlin.

Gifted chef Sophia Hoffmann is throwing a #helpdonthate donation dinner next week, join her!

Amnesty International is inviting you to join a panel discussion about the current state of Europe’s asylum politics, the future of the Dublin regulation and human rights in Europe’s border states.

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.

This is what happened last week.


also leave a comment
  1. Chiara on


    What a warm and lovely post! <3


  2. Markus on


    I think the entire situation is horrible and chaotic for everyone who has to deal with it – no matter, if refugee or employee. So this is exactly why it is so important for everyone with capacities, to help!! :)

    1. Mary Scherpe on

      No one blames the staff. Der Fisch stinkt zuerst am Kopf.

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