Trying to Do the Right Thing Refugees in Exclusion Zone Deeply Divide Poles

With thousands of migrants trying to cross into the country from neighboring Belarus, Podlasie, Poland, has become the epicenter of an international crisis. The development is dividing locals, with some doing what they can to help the refugees and others doing all they can to keep them out.
By Steffen Lüdke und Lina Verschwele in Podlasie, Poland
Refugee helper Alina Miszczuk in the forest: "The current situation has torn people apart."

Refugee helper Alina Miszczuk in the forest: "The current situation has torn people apart."

Foto: Adam Lach / DER SPIEGEL
DER SPIEGEL 47/2021
SPIEGEL International
Red Cross worker Alina Miszczuk

Red Cross worker Alina Miszczuk

Foto: Adam Lach / DER SPIEGEL
"People say we don't have a heart, but we also have children and family."

Border guard Krystyna Jakimik-Jarosz

A foggy area near the border between Poland and Belarus: Police conduct vehicle checks every few kilometers.

A foggy area near the border between Poland and Belarus: Police conduct vehicle checks every few kilometers.

Foto: Adam Lach / DER SPIEGEL
Helpers often find wet clothing belonging to migrants making their way to Europe in the forest near Hajnówka.

Helpers often find wet clothing belonging to migrants making their way to Europe in the forest near Hajnówka.

Foto: Adam Lach / DER SPIEGEL