Life of Syrian Refugees in Berlin’s LaGeSo

Once, a friend of mine posted on his twitter a comment that he had overheard on public transport in Berlin.

An elderly woman asked (of the Syrian refugees): Is it really necessary for them to leave their country?

This is a much discussed question these days in Germany, as the country received tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Syria.

Since Germany opened its doors this summer, more than 31,000 refugees from the Middle East have come to stay in the country.

Before they are given housing and official refugee status in Germany, they are allowed to stay at the State Office of Health and Social Affairs (LaGeSo), the official asylum registration center for processing by the German authorities.

The refugees often spend weeks there trying to get papers in order to live in Germany.

The area where the refugees are gathered is often very chaotic, very different from Germany’s well-known nature of precision. People are wandering aimlessly near the center, most lying in the street and sleeping in the open before they are given accommodation and living permission.

LaGeSo itself looks like a large park with several buildings surrounding it, and every inch is full- crowded with thousands of people seeking asylum, most from Syria. This is not a place where a person can stay comfortably for a long period of time. Here, people are registered, given First Aid, food and clothes and then eventually sent on their way.

More on this, and interviews with both refugees and volunteers, in this week's Georgia Today newspaper.

Tamar Svanidze

07 October 2015 12:54