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Ethnic German migration doubles in two years

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Ethnic German migration doubles in two years
Middle Eastern refugees and ethnic German migrants celebrate Christmas together at Friedland camp in 2013. Photo: DPA
11:21 CET+01:00
Numbers of ethnic Germans moving to the Federal Republic from Russia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics have grown for the third year in a row, with 2015's figure double that in 2013.

Around 6,000 ethnic German migrants arrived in Germany in 2015, several hundred more than the previous year, preliminary figures from the only arrival centre in Friedland, near Göttingen, showed.

The lowest point for arrivals of ethnic Germans was 2012, when only 1,800 made the move.

It was a far cry from 1990, when 400,000 arrived.

Just as in previous years, most ethnic German migrants entering the country this year came from Russia and Kazakhstan, camp director Heinrich Hörnschemeyer said.

Smaller numbers came from Kyrgystan and Ukraine.

The majority of the new arrivals were coming to join their relatives already living in the Federal Republic.

Migrants have to prove to the German authorities that they have basic knowledge of the language before being allowed to leave their countries of origin.

The centre also deals with asylum applicants and has seen around 20,000 asylum seekers pass through in this year alone – meaning that it is massively overburdened, as it was originally designed for just 700 people at a time. At times there have been four times that number living there.

Decades of German migration

In the last days of the Second World War more than 12 million ethnic Germans fled from eastern Europe ahead of the advancing Red Army.

However, several hundred thousand Germans living further to the east had already been deported by the Soviets to Siberia and Central Asia in 1941, leaving them trapped in the USSR after the German surrender.

During the post-war years they were subjected to harsh persecution - including working in forced labour camps - and many decided to leave when borders reopened at the end of the Cold War.

A census from 2012 in Kazakhstan estimated that slightly under 200,000 ethnic Germans still live in the former Soviet Republic.

SEE ALSO: Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

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