How Germany helps and hurts its refugees - Part Two

 asylum seekers on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea are rescued ( Wikimedia/Irish defence forces )

asylum seekers on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea are rescued (Wikimedia/Irish defence forces)

In an emotional interview, we speak to Khaled, a refugee from Syria, about his dangerous journey from Latakia to Berlin.

Khaled reveals how, during his dangerous sea crossing, human traffickers extorted money from asylum seekers, threatening to throw them overboard if they did not pay.

He describes the terrible conditions after arriving in Germany, abuse by staff at a shelter for refugees and his feeling of hopelessness that drove him to attempt suicide.

The story he tells is just one among millions.

Music by Kevin MacLeod (
Khaled's name has been changed to protect his privacy


How Germany helps and hurts its refugees - Part One

 Refugees waiting for a train to germany (Image:  Wikimedia / BWAG )

Refugees waiting for a train to germany (Image: Wikimedia / BWAG)

There’s been a civil war in Syria for over four years. During this time, European media reported on the increasing power of the so-called Islamic State - still, those atrocities were always at a distance.  

Asylum seekers have long tried to build new lives for themselves in Europe. Traditional migration routes reach across Africa and through parts of the Middle East, ending in countries like Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, France and the UK.

But as the war in Syria advanced, many more people sought a better life elsewhere. Now the total stands at four million refugees from Syria alone. Add to that Afghans, Eritreans and Iraqis looking to escape extremists or oppression by the state. They left to nearby countries and to Europe.

Earlier this year, a wave of asylum seekers came, via the Balkan States and over the sea to Italy and Greece. They wanted to reach Europe and in most cases, thanks to its open-door policy, Germany. The consequences of a brutal war on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea have reached the European Union.

Germany is expected to have taken up over a million of these asylum seekers in 2015 alone. Local authorities, who are ultimately responsible for the registration and housing of refugees, have long been under strain.

In the first part of our two-part report on refugees in Germany, we take a look at one city which is at breaking point - Berlin. Refugees are waiting in the cold overnight just to register at the "LaGeSo" state office.

We speak to state politicians who are frustrated by the situation and volunteers doing whatever they can to give those waiting the clothing and food they need.

Additional reporting by Jonas Schönfelder
Music by Kevin MacLeod (

The German Language

Some people say it's a difficult language to learn or that it sounds harsh. So what motivates people to learn German?

In this report, we speak to learners on the streets of Berlin, as well as the deputy director of the Goethe-Institut London, to answer those questions! 

Share with us your German-learning experiences! Leave us a comment on Facebook or send us a tweet.

Report by Jonas Schönfelder

Germany on a 'diplomatic mission': G7 foreign ministers meet in Lübeck

Germany's mission to beef up its foreign policy credentials continues as the country chairs the G7 this year. 

What happens behind the closed doors of the meeting? Frank Jordans, a correspondent for Associated Press, joins us to talk about the recent foreign ministers' meeting in Lübeck.