On Sunday a colleague and me visited the Austrian-German border near the town of Freilassing to document the situation of refugees here. As we arrived at the train-station of Freilassing – the first station after the Austrian-German border we found it almost completely empty. Some volunteers were waiting, prepared for the next refugees to arrive. Some policemen were searching a group of 5 young refugees that managed to cross the border and end up at the train-station. The border is walking distance from the train station – so we hiked there. From quite a distance we were able to see police controls similar as we experienced at the G7 summit last summer. Policemen and women were stopping trucks, looking into busses and controlling “suspicious” drivers. On the other side of the bridge the humanitarian situation seemed critical to me. Refugees await to cross the bridge. People sleep on the floor and in tents. Volunteers try to make the situation easier for refugees, hand out food, clothing and help with translations. Children played hockey when we were there while the Austrian military watches. Every now and then when another group is controlled by German police forces, movement starts and people gather on the bridge to be let through. Compared to pictures I have seen from a week ago the situation already got better – but still people are sleeping on the floor in horrible sanitarian conditions just because the German government decided to reinstate border controls and stop the train services to and from Austria.
My impressions from yesterday afternoon in Freilassing: