Refugees held at former Nazi camp

Twenty one male refugees wait for approvals of applications at former Nazi barracks in Germany

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Former Nazi SS guards barracks at Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany

Updated Sep 13, 2015

Twenty one male asylum seekers are temporarily housed at the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp near the city of Weimar in Germany, where thousands of slave-labourers were once imprisoned and killed by SS officers during the Seond World War.

The government has been giving the refugees 135 euros ($153) for food and other needs while they wait for the next phase at the camp that also provides basic cooking facilities and bunk beds. Some of them have been living in the camp for several months waiting for their applications to be approved.

The Mayor of Berlin's Mitte district, Christian Hanke, said it was an emergency solution “but it is unavoidable. There is a lot of room in the hangars.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail, 20-year-old Abdurrahman Massa - an Eritrean refugee - said he does not mind what the building used to be.

Another refugee called Diaoyre, from Algeria, said he had been at the camp for a week.

“It is good here. Many others don’t even have this,” he added.

The news that asylum-seekers would be staying at the Nazi barracks had been announced at the beginning of 2015.

Although the original buildings where brutal torture and killings took place have been demolished, many still question the decision.

Buchewald was one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. Around 250,000 people from different parts of Europe were kept there from the day it opened in 1937. Approximately 56,000 male prisoners were killed at the camp.

Germany had announced it would take in 800,000 refugees by the end of the year, which is four times the total in 2014.

Families, men and children are making a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in order to reach the safety of western Europe.

Many were halted by Hungarian authorities as the country refused to grant them asylum, but after transportation was arranged they managed to arrive in Germany.

Hungary's treatment of refugees

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann criticised Hungary’s treatment of refugees and compared Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s it to the brutality of the Nazi-era.

"Piling refugees on trains in the hopes that they go far far away brings back memories of the darkest period of our continent," Faymann said.

Footage released from inside refugee camps in Hungary has revealed harsh conditions there.

The country has also stationed more soldiers at the border as a construction of a fence there is underway.  

Orban told Germany’s Bild newspaper that he wanted 3.0 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to be given to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the first stop for Syrians trying to escape war zones in the Middle East.

"If it takes more money, we will increase aid until the refugee flows are drying up," he said. Adding "These migrants do not come from war zones but from camps [in these border countries], where they were safe.”

Orban also told Bild "But it's a fact: there is no fundamental right to a better life, only a right to security and human dignity."


TRTWorld and agencies