Wednesday 28 September 2016

Former Nazi death camp being used to house refugees in Germany

David Kearns

Published 14/09/2015 | 14:45

The main gate of the former Buchenwald concentration camp - the slogan 'Jedem das Seine' means 'Each to his own' Credit: Kai Pfaffenbach (Reuters)
The main gate of the former Buchenwald concentration camp - the slogan 'Jedem das Seine' means 'Each to his own' Credit: Kai Pfaffenbach (Reuters)

Scores of refugees are staying at a former Nazi concentration camp while German authorities process their asylum requests.

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The Buchenwald site near the city of Weimar was one of the first and largest concentration camps on German soil during World War Two.

It is thought that more than 55,000 people were killed there, many due to medical experiments by Nazi doctors.

German authorities are currently housing 21 male asylum seekers at the site’s former barracks.

Abdurahman Massa from northern Eritrea is one of those housed at the former concentration camp, and told the Daily Express he “didn’t mind staying at the site despite what it was before.”

“This is good for me,” said the 20-year-old.

Another refugee identified as Diaoyre, from Algeria, said he had been living at the camp for one week, and it was “good” because “many others don’t even have this.”

The 21 refugees at the site are provided with €135 monthly, to spend on food and other essentials.

The news that refugees would be housed in the notorious Nazi camp first emerged in January.

The town's authorities said, at the time, they had 200 asylum seekers but no funds to purchase temporary structures to place them.

A council spokeswoman called the solution to move 21 refugees into the former camp's command “a practical one."

At the end of August the authorities in Berlin announced they were making plans to use the city's closed Tempelhof airport, which spans more than 300,000 square meters, to provide accommodation for some of those seeking refuge.

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

Germany took in 200,000 refugees last year, and expects a total of 800,000 to arrive in 2015.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the movement will likely cause a permanent change in the country's demographics and claims that the country will do all it can to accommodate the new arrivals.

On Sunday, Germany reinstated controls at its borders with Austria to cope with a record influx of refugees.

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