Expats in Berlin walk Wall for refugees

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Expats in Berlin walk Wall for refugees
David Gordon Smith by a stretch of the Wall. Photo: Submitted

A group of expats will walk part of the route of the Berlin Wall on German Unity Day this Friday, almost 25 years after it fell, to raise money for refugees exactly a year after the Lampedusa tragedy.


The English-speaking expats, who have raised €700 so far for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, will walk in two groups, with one starting south of the capital and one to the north.

The walk on October 3rd ties in with the first anniversary of the Lampedusa tragedy and German Unity Day, which commemorates German reunification in 1990.

Organizer David Gordon Smith, 42, said: “For years I've been interested in the plight of migrants and refugees who try to enter Europe illegally, by crossing the Mediterranean.

“Like many people, I was especially shocked and saddened by the shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013, where over 360 people died."

“I felt I wanted to do something to mark the event and to help in some small way," the translator added.

The two groups will walk around 20 kilometres each to eventually meet at the Brandenburg Gate. 

David, who moved to Berlin in 1998 from Glenlivet, Scotland, added: “Obviously the Wall is a symbol of a barrier that separated people for decades and which claimed many lives. The idea seemed to find resonance with other expats when I told them about it.

“I think that, having left our own countries, we are perhaps especially sensitive to the plight of migrants less fortunate than ourselves, who have been forced into desperate measures because of, for example, crises in the country where they happen to live, or who are just seeking a better life for themselves and their families.”

Around 160 kilometres of the former Berlin Wall has been turned into a walking route and is signposted as the "Berliner Mauerweg".

You can sponsor the group and raise money for the UNHCR here.

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