• Germany's news in English

Concern rises over Roma slum apartment block

The Local · 6 Dec 2012, 12:31

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.?
Today's headlines
Teen's murder-rape arrest reignites refugee debate
Flowers and candles set up in Freiburg to honour the student found dead. Photo: DPA.

The German government pleaded for calm on Monday after the arrest of a teenage Afghan asylum seeker for the alleged rape and murder of a German student triggered fresh criticism of the country's liberal refugee policy.

China criticizes US for blocking sale of German firm
Aixtron's headquarter in Herzogenrath in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

The US is reportedly worried that China could use the firm's technology in its nuclear programme.

Germany should deport sick refugees: Merkel party mate
Rejected asylum seekers in Leipzig being taken to the airport. Photo: DPA.

A top member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party on Monday defended his proposal for Germany to deport sick refugees after receiving harsh criticism.

Rail worker jailed over train crash that killed 12
Rescue workers at the scene of the crash. Photo: DPA

A German rail dispatcher who admitted that his negligence caused a train crash that killed 12 people has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Why Germany is worried by Italy's referendum result
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a crushing referendum defeat on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel lost a key ally on Sunday night.

These are Berlin's seven most exquisite restaurants
Two-star chef Tim Raue. Photo: DPA.

The capital city still hasn't managed to snag three stars in the new 2017 Michelin guide released on Thursday, but it still boasts seven two-star eateries. Here's a look at what they have to offer.

Austrian vote a 'good omen for Europe': German minister
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday said that the far-right defeat in Austria's presidential election was "a good omen" for Europe.

VW bosses forced to pay back private jet costs

Bosses at troubled German auto giant Volkswagen have been forced to pay the company back millions of euros for flights on its private jets, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

Germany arrests Marxist militant 'leader'
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / DPA / AFP file picture

A radical Marxist suspected of belonging to a left-wing extremist group accused of terrorism by Turkey has been arrested in Germany, judicial sources said on Saturday.

Afghan teen arrested over German murder-rape
Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / DPA / AFP file picture

A teenage Afghan asylum seeker has been arrested on suspicion of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old female student in Germany, police and prosecutors said Saturday.

10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
This is how unequal German society has become
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
10 German books you have to read before you die
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd