News headlines have recently been shouting about the refugee crisis and Germany’s prominent role in welcoming them. Estimates are that more than 1.5 million refugees will enter the country by the end of the year, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Since I live in a small town in Germany, I thought I might share my personal experience and reflections.
The town where I live is a poor one by German standards and a rich one by world standards. Gronau has a beautiful heated community swimming pool, a Jazz Festival every May, and a well-stocked public library. But the town also has many boarded up factories with smashed windows. Gronau was once a boom town centered around the textile industry. But by the 1970s, all the jobs disappeared, first to Eastern Europe and then to China.