Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Since July last year, in the rural village of Schöllnstein in Lower Bavaria, 71 Bavarians and around 90 asylum seekers have been forced to live together. There is virtually no contact between the two groups.

Among the Bavarians are many elderly people, farmers, a few couples with children. Only a handful have ever been abroad or have any knowledge of foreign languages.

In the village there are no shops or pubs. The nearest supermarket is six miles away.

This curious situation derives from the German law on asylum seeking, which says: "The distribution of asylum seekers should be such as to promote their willingness to return to their countries of origin." So, for the last year, 90 asylum seekers have been housed in remote Schöllnstein.

They seem to be less than thrilled with the magnificent Bavarian scenery. "This is a catastrophe," thought Taifur Al Khatib, a 33-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker, as he got off the bus. In fact, last year, the asylum seekers initially refused to get on the bus taking them to "a bad, bad place, called Bayerischer Wald".

The Germans are not exactly overjoyed by their presence either. "The peace is gone," says local resident Florian Mittag. "Before, we didn't even bother closing our doors. In the summer, my wife would lie on the terrace in her bikini. That's gone."

The local parish priest calls Schöllnstein "the Bavarian Lampedusa".

Source: Kybeline




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