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Concern rises over Roma slum apartment block
Photo: DPA

Concern rises over Roma slum apartment block

Published: 06 Dec 2012 12:31 GMT+01:00

Dubbed the “problem house” by the Ruhr Valley city's press, the eight-floor building in western Germany is officially home to 139 residents, mostly Roma. Police believe there are many more crammed into the 46 flats, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

Despite squalid conditions inside and out, one resident said he paid €300 per month for a two-room flat which the magazine said was indescribably horrid. He had come to Germany from Romania - travelling within the European Union - in search of a better life.

But, due to the labour ban still imposed on people coming to Germany from Romania and Bulgaria, none of those setting up home in Germany are allowed to work legally. This leaves people living in places like the Duisburg building bored, impoverished and disappointed.

Duisburg police documents seen by Der Spiegel stated that neighbours had “understandably” complained about the Roma living in the building.

“The houses are rubbish-strewn, the area around them a complete mess and the standard of hygiene unacceptable,” the report said. It added that residents were often spotted going to the toilet outdoors.

People living nearby have become increasingly hostile and even aggressive towards the people living in the building. Police files talk of young local Turks chasing the Roma, while one man living in the building said none of the nearby shop owners would serve him.

And although the public have not been informed, Der Spiegel said that a few weeks ago, a group of three or four masked men armed with sticks and knuckle-dusters attacked a group of five young Roma in a park. "It is to be assumed that this was a targeted attack by young Turkish-heritage men on equally young Roma of Romanian nationality," the magazine quoted a police report.

Hundreds of others watched and some were cheering on the attack, the officer wrote. He described the background to the attack as probably, "the stronger and unregulated growth of the Roma group and the associated nuisance."

The building is owned by a man identified only as Branko B., by the magazine. He is said to be a leading figure in the city's red light district and owns at least one brothel.

“I have never been [to the building], I leave it down to my manager,” Branko B. told Der Spiegel.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:12 December 7, 2012 by valika
"This leaves people living in places like the Duisburg building bored, impoverished and disappointed.

¦quot;The houses are rubbish-strewn, the area around them a complete mess and the standard of hygiene unacceptable,¦quot; the report said. It added that residents were often spotted going to the toilet outdoors."

Bored? Nah. Most of them go as part of beggars networks and/or to cheat or steal other people's possessions. This what most of them are here for, not work.

Disappointed? Nah. You're disappointed when you expect something, when you know that what you're expecting is feasible and legal and your right as a citizen and you still don't get it. You're not disappointed when you know that your endeavor has no chances of success because of some uncontrollable, external causes that everybody knows about. I should also be disappointed because I'm not able to fly like a bird. I think I should sue God for this.

Impoverished? Nah. Some of them have palaces in Romania, with marble floors and gold incrustations on the walls and a fleet of Mercedes and BMWs outside. All this is acquired by stealing and/or by cheating on the Social Services in EU countries (mostly UK, in Germany it's not that easy). None of that income came from work. It's easy to find reading material about this on the Internet.

About hygiene conditions - this is how they live usually, it's not the landlord's (an a-hole nevertheless) fault.

Living in a shitty building doesn't entitle you to go to the toilet outside, throw the garbage out the window or just not throw it away at all. It doesn't entitle you to affect your neighbor's peaceful and quiet life in any way, either. Plus that working together, I'm sure they could have brought that place to a superior stage of "inhabitability".

I can somehow understand (not adhere to, though) the young Turks attitude. The slow, naive and bureaucratic authorities risk of having to deal with a disaster at least like the the one in Rostock in the 90's...

So I'm sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on this and when the Westerners (but also East-European governments) will start to be less naive and more pragmatic about the real situation and the real reasons why this happens, then they will be at least half way on the path to really solving this issue.

Why did I feel entitled to write this comment? I'm Romanian and I lived there 90% of my life. Now let me be reported as racist and/or bashed to oblivion. :)
20:12 December 8, 2012 by raandy
valika very entertaining, was a good read but , I lost ya over the part where some of them live in marble floored houses with gold inlaid and hot tubs and a concubine +++,,why would they come here and be scorned.?
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