Six thousand eight hundred East Germans applied for political asylum at West Berlin's refugee camps this Easter.
Six thousand eight hundred East Germans applied for political asylum at West Berlin's refugee camps this Easter. Marienfelde Camp, in the suburbs of West Berlin, received the majority of this number, which is three hundred more than last Easter.
Many refugees arrived at the camp with only the clothes they wore. Others managed to bring a small amount of personal effects. At the camp they were screened and fed before being evacuated to other parts of the Federal Republic.
In the months preceding and following the uprising of June, 1953, in East Germany, a human flood poured into West Berlin, creating a huge economic and social problem. Since then the flood has somewhat receded, though it rises again in times of crisis. The stream never dries up. Described as one of the great migrations of all time, it continues at a steady rate of 300 to 400 a day. In the past twelve years more than 2,500,000 have abandoned their shops, their farms, and their homes.
In a recent radio address, Herr Lemmer, the Federal Minister for All-German Affairs, expressed grave concern at the "alarming" exodus from east Germany. He appealed to would-be refugees to think twice before fleeing to the west because, he said, it did not serve the restoration of the unity of the German state and nation if the population of the communist governed part continued to decrease. The Federal Government fears that peoples of non-German stock, Slavs, Mongols, and even Chinese, may be brought into the east to take their place, thus gradually altering the character of the country and perpetuating its division.