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The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel released a list of 33,293 people who died between 1993 and 2017, as they were trying to enter Europe to escape war, poverty, and oppression in their home countries.


The List

According to the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, 33,293 people died, trying to immigrate to Europe between 1993 and May this year. The List includes a record of the date, country of origin, death cause, source, and name. In many cases, though, the fatalities have not been identified by name.

“June 2, 1997. Country of origin: Afghanistan. No Name – newborn. Circumstances of death: drowning near the river Neisse (DE / PL) near Görlitz,” read one of the first entries.  “January 24, 2017. Country of origin: Egypt. No Name – Man, 22. Circumstances of death: smoke inhalation during the fire at Moria Camp on Lesbos (GR),” reads another entry, one of the most recent ones.

Behind the Numbers

On the one hand, the 48-page long document serves as a monument that pulls out of anonymity and oblivion each and every human tragedy that struck at the edge of Europe. At the same time, however, it should be read as a story of failure and indifference, as the end of the list does not coincide with the end of tragedies.

Der Tagesspiegel itself said it intended to document, “the asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants who died since 1993 as a consequence of the restrictive policies of Europe on the continent’s outer borders or inside Europe.”

Germany and Immigration

It is also not without importance that the report appears in a few weeks after federal elections. Germany has consistently played a key role in handling the refugee crisis by promoting open-borders policies in Europe.

As a matter of fact, in recent years, Germany has accepted more refugees than any other European countries. Since 2014, 1.4 million people applied for the refugee status, and more than 800,000 have received a positive response.

But September elections, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany party gained 94 seats in the lower chamber of the parliament, the Bundestag, calls into question social openness to asylum seekers. The anti-immigrant rhetoric has finally found access to the official political arena, and its supporters are already challenging the future of Syrian refugees.

“That some countries refuse to accept any refugees is not on. That contradicts the spirit of Europe. We’ll overcome that. It will take time and patience but we will succeed,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech one month before the elections.

Read more on the refugee crisis in Australia: Manus Island Refugee Crisis Shows True Colours of Australian Immigration Policy.


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