“Emergency – From Strangers to Neighbors”

The following video, filmed in late September in 2015, presents a fascinating perspective of the challenges a German community, Zahrensdorf, faced to set up a welcoming reception camp for refugees from Syria, Iraq and many other nations. I’m sharing the video here because it captures a crucial story that isn’t conveyed by mainstream media. The magnitude of the challenges refugees and German communities are facing is overwhelming. The ultimate message of the video is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

NOTAUFNAHME LANG EN AR (Emergency – From Strangers to Neighbors)
from Basthorster FilmmanufakturVimeo PLUS – 1 week ago


20 thoughts on ““Emergency – From Strangers to Neighbors”

  1. It is challenging but a few well intended, charitable souls can make so much difference to refugees. I was 5 when my parents emigrated to Canada from post war France. While not legally refugees, our status was much the same: into a strange world and no chance of turning back. I remember we got what seemed to us kids, a lot of free stuff from charitable groups and even if it was second hand we thought we’d died and gone to heaven. We could not imagine toys, and enough clothes and food. The only problem with it all is, there are bigots on both sides of the equation and that’s always the fly in the ointment. Having experienced forced displacement, if I were to address refugees it would be to say this: Quickly learn to adapt and adopt. Leave the past, leave your past ways, adapt to the new ones and make friends by any and all means possible, no matter what you have to chuck off along the way. Burn your old flags and if necessary chuck your religions also. Forget the old way to dress, these are your ways now, these are your people. It’s the only way. Give yourselves a new life and live it. Dare to free yourselves from your old stifling ways. They didn’t save you then and they aren’t worth suffering for now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insights, Sha’Tara. It’s an important perspective. Your comments remind me of the situation faced by Hmong refugees who were sent to Wisconsin and Minnesota. They adapted quickly despite profound language and cultural differences. Anti-Asian prejudice was quite virulent in some of the communities where they were placed. (Too many community members were unaware of the history that forced the Hmong to leave Laos because they helped the US in the American War in Vietnam, even as young children carrying guns on the front-lines.) Yet their children mourned the loss of their country, language and culture. Listening to their stories reminded me of the losses First Nations/Native Americans experienced. It makes me hope that Germany can find a middle ground, learning from people from different cultures and figuring how to be inclusive without enforcing conformity and assimilation.


  2. Carol, thank you for sharing this – I’m going to watch it all later but as you say – interesting to learn more from a different angle. The first speaker was from the former DDR and I remember how happily they were welcomed but then that quickly turned sour…difficult times for so many people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your important insights about the difficulties that sometimes emerge once the crises pass, Annika. Hopefully, communities have learned methods for preventing the past from repeating.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I will watch this in the next day or so.

    There are some who believe the entire “Arab Spring” was created for this very purpose: to produce millions of refugees that would need to land somewhere, and because of this, national identities would be blurred, which would then open the door for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT/ORDER.

    This planet belongs to every living creature and plant that is on it.

    Thanks for sharing this, Carol!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you so much for finding this and sharing it. We see so many images of horror and yet have little awareness of how welcome and resettlement actually plays out. What I saw was even when living conditions were far from optimal, kindness made such a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a slight reluctance to watch the video because of the length, but I am glad I took the time. Your description “heartbreaking and hopeful” sums it up rather well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Ronnie, and for taking the time to watch the video. It’s important information that is unlikely to make mainstream news because it humanizes tragedy and kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Terrible tragedy. I am afraid most of the readers didn’t watch the whole dvd. But they should. It is a complex tragedy. Poor Chechen family came from Russia. Another war the world doesn’t know about. I have a friend in Germany and another one in Austria, both very involved in charity work. I would love to see the Muslim communities making more effort.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. We are humans, and this is a real life. There are no refugees tailored to fit our charitable feelings. There are no country that gives everything and now. As you say, this is going to be with us for a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

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