Inside the “Refugee Centers:” A Worker Speaks

The New Observer — Jan 18, 2016

Death threats against welfare workers, aggressive behavior, lies, forged documents, verbal abuse, misogyny, sexual attacks, and even physical assaults—these are the daily burdens which German social workers in the “refugee centers” have to face, according to a disillusioned employee who has broken her silence.

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Migrants attack a woman near a “refugee centre” in Germany. Click to enlarge

The worker—who has to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions—described her working conditions, and her disillusionment with the nonwhite invaders after having initially supported the “refugees,” to the German N24 TV news channel.

In the interview, titled “I can’t take it anymore” (Ich halte es dort nicht mehr aus, N24, 18.01.2016), the social worker, who has been working full time at a Hamburg-based “refugee reception center,” starts off by describing how enthusiastic she was to get the job to help the “refugees” because she supported the invasion:

N24-interview

“I have applied for this job because it was exactly what I wanted to do,” she said.

“By the time that the confirmation [that I had got the job] finally arrived in my mailbox, I was looking forward to it like crazy.

“I finally could not only help in theory, but also really do something practical to help the refugees.”

Accordingly, she continued, “I went in high spirits to my first day in the initial reception center.

“Naturally I was very excited, as one always is on the first working day of a new job…It is certainly truly super here, I thought to myself.”

Over the next few days, she said, she threw herself into the work, which consisted of providing counselling services to the 1,500 or more nonwhite invaders at the center.

“I was responsible for attending to all refugee social problems, of helping them in the asylum application procedure, and making medical appointments when they needed them,” she told N24.

“Well, and then the first refugees came to my office. After the first few visits I realized that my very positive and idealistic notion of them and their behavior was very different from the reality.

“First, if I’m honest, about 90 percent of those who I counselled were unpleasant. First, many of them are extremely demanding.

“They came to me and demanded that I immediately set them up with an apartment, a fancy car, and a really good job. When I told them this was not possible, they would become loud and very aggressive. An Afghan threatened to kill himself there and then [if I did not help him with these demands].

“And a number of Syrians and Afghanis declared that they will go on hunger strike until I’d help them to move to another place. An Arab shouted at another colleague, ‘We behead you!’”

Because of these death threats “and other things,” she continued, they had to call upon the police for protection “several times a week.”

“Second, the refugees provide inaccurate information all the time. They would come to me and tell a story which did not match their papers. I would check with my colleagues and then I would find out that just the day before, the refugees had been to them with a completely different story.

“There was, for example, a resident who came to me with a deportation notice addressed to himself. He wanted to know what would happen next. I explained it to him, and then he went away.

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“Soon afterwards, he appeared in front of my colleague, and showed completely new identity documents in a different name. He was then just moved to another camp.

“Thirdly, they rarely stick to appointments. If they ask for doctors such as a dentist or orthopedic surgeon, I make the appointments, but when the time comes, they just don’t show up.

“This happens so often that the doctors have asked us not to make so many appointments—but what am I supposed to do? I cannot reject the request for an appointment just because I suspect that the applicant will not then appear in time.”

Then, the worker told N24, was the worst problem for her of all: the issue of their attitude toward women.

“Fourth, and for me, the worst, is that the refugees behave indescribably badly toward women.

“It is well known that it is primarily single men who come to us—at least 65 or 70 percent. They are still young, only 20 or so, and not more than 25.

“They simply do not respect women at all. They don’t take us seriously. If I as a woman tell them something or want to take a statement from them, they hardly listen to me at all, or they simply refuse and demand to speak to a male colleague.

“For us women, they only give contemptuous glances, or are [sexually] intrusive. After seeing one of us, they will often give a loud whistle, and then call out something in a foreign language, and then they all burst out laughing.

“This is really very unpleasant. They even photograph us with their cell phones, just like that, without asking, and even if you protest against it.

“My colleagues have told me that all these things happen to them as well. But, they say, there is nothing to be done. You can only stop doing the job, nothing else. So they ignore it. I tried to do this as well, but it did not work.

“It [the harassment] has become worse, frankly, because in recent weeks there are more and more men from North Africa, from Morocco, Tunisia, or Libya.

“They are even more aggressive. I could not ignore it any longer, and I have had to respond,” she continued.

“Specifically, this meant I had to start dressing differently. I’m actually someone who likes to sometimes wear close-fitting items—but not anymore—I have to wear loose-fitting pants and always high-necked tops. I hardly use any makeup anymore.

“And not only did I have to change my outward appearance to protect myself from this harassment, I have also had to alter my behavior.

“I avoid, for example, going anywhere [in the center] where there are often large groups of these men. If I have to do anything there, I try to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

“But usually I stay in my little office, if possible, even during the day. And I no longer take the train to work or back, because a colleague was followed by some of the men to the metro station and molested in the train. I would like to spare myself that, and therefore I use my car.”

She concluded the interview with the admission that she and her colleagues were in all likelihood going to quit rather than stand the abuse any longer.

“I was previously so convinced of the job and of the whole thing in itself, and it is very difficult to admit that it is all so different from what you have imagined. And a resignation [from the job] will be precisely such an admission. But we cannot take it anymore; we cannot bear to see how wrong it all is in here, and that we cannot change it.”

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