The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?
DER SPIEGEL

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?

By SPIEGEL Staff

Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim


Jürgen Steingreber, 53, is a swimming instructor from Harrislee, a suburb of Flensburg.

Mr. Steingreber, why are you teaching refugees to swim?

SPIEGEL: How can you integrate refugees in your area?

Steingreber: I noticed that there were a few hours during the week when the public pool was available. I asked the mayor if it would be OK if I used that window to teach refugees how to swim. Most of them came to Europe by boat, but hardly any of them know how to swim. The mayor said yes.

SPIEGEL: How are things going?

Steingreber: Good, I think. Each week, 16 men attend. Everywhere you go, there are people trying to find things for refugee children to do. But for the adults, there are far fewer options. But we have to integrate them too. These swimming lessons offer the men a chance to meet us and for us to meet them.

SPIEGEL: What are some things that are not going so well?

Steingreber: There aren't many problems overall. Our community is located right along the Danish border. We're used to people communicating in different languages and having different traditions.

SPIEGEL: What could be going better?

Steingreber: For now, it's only men who have attended the lessons. All of them were scared at first, but I eventually helped them get over it. If they're having fun, then I think at some point they'll bring their families along too. That would be great.

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spiegelerin 02/21/2016
1. HOW do you integrate them?
I just saw a photo of Africans squatting on a boat waiting to come over and another load of them waiting in Libya. (Kaddafi said, watch what happens when they just hop over to Europe.) They are going to take an integration course and live well in hyper independent Germany? I don't think so. They are adults with different norms. When it comes to women, when it comes to how to cure AIDS (sleeping with virgins) when it comes to noise in the streets...the cultures will not harmoniously merge and European culture will have to deal with becoming less woman friendly, louder and so on...I don't see this happening at all well, but apparently "mixed" societies like in France and Belgium work 'well enough." But more are coming and I don't see harmony, at least not for people with European norms. Will this one get published? It's MY opinion, not that of SPON.
artvent 02/21/2016
2. Muslim Refugees
I'm sorry for these people, but you must realize they will live in their own ghettos and because of their religion will never assimilate - they will not contribute to your society because they are mostly uneducated and they will not respect their host nation. Just look at France if you want to see the problem. Most of all I feel sorry for the German people and what will happen to Germany in the years to come after this invasion. You will lose your identity.
bartelbe 02/21/2016
3. it won't work
You want to know what integration looks like? Integration is mixed families, it is muslim girls dating, sleeping with, marrying and having families with German men. That isn't going to happen, because if a muslim girl amoung these "refugees" decided to date a German man she would be dishonouring her family and would be punish. Let that sink in, your new arrivals reguard you with such contempt that if one of their female relatives dated one of your young men, it would be seen as a form of dishonour. If it was the other way round you would condemn that attitude as racist, but no doubt it will be swept under the carpet just like the events in Cologne. Sex and relationships reveals the truth about how people feel. Your new arrivals are not interested in integration, and they do not respect your culture. That is the truth and no amount of PC censorship will change that.
nsmith 02/22/2016
4. Integration Doesn't Happen Overnight...
Germany is going to find out that Integration is not as easy as "Wir Schaffen Das!" The United States of America was built on that same principle over 300 years ago, and we're still having problems with it.
spiegelerin 02/24/2016
5. The next task is to integrate them...
Yes, one integration course and they will learn European values of not grabbing women, of not thinking that women alone have no honor...One integration course and they won't be the desperate people who don't respect barriers, who don't jump trains. No, if You don't give them money and take care of their needs, they are going to get angry. Just take care of them, at any cost.
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