Strangers On My Doorstep


Germany: At The Centre20160215

In the European migration crisis, Germany stands at the centre. Angela Merkel encouraged hundreds of thousands to move there in recent months, calling for a 'welcome culture' to show itself among her fellow citizens. It was meant to show that the Germans - partly because of their dark twentieth century history - were uniquely prepared to respond to the refugee's plight.

And Germany's recent history does offer a fascinating lens through which to understand the current crisis. Chris Bowlby visits the Friedland transit camp, now housing Syrians but which has received successive waves of refugees since the 1940s, beginning with some of the millions of ethnic Germans driven west by the Red Army. We'll hear how Germany absorbed these multi millions, and then millions more 'guest workers' from Turkey and elsewhere. Has this changed the country, redefining what it is to be German? In Cologne, Chris explores how these unresolved tensions are resurfacing today, as the country debates how far it can continue to receive refugees in such numbers, and how they will integrate into today's Germany

Producer: Shabnam Grewal.