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Berlin fires refugee home firm after jokes about killing kids
Refugee children from Iraq play during a sports programme hosted by the firm PeWoBe. Photo: DPA.

Berlin fires refugee home firm after jokes about killing kids

The Local · 15 Aug 2016, 11:19

Published: 15 Aug 2016 11:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Aug 2016 11:19 GMT+02:00

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Berlin tabloid newspaper BZ published at the weekend emails from senior figures in the refugee housing management firm PeWoBe, revealing the internal emails of the private company.

In one email, several company bosses were discussing what to do with a €5,000 donation from BMW. The director of a refugee home in the eastern Hellersdorf area, Peggy M., wrote to management saying that a proposed sandbox for children would “very quickly become a big ashtray or a local toilet”.

“What about if we instead have a small child-guillotine? Or perhaps a basketball hoop,” she continued. BZ previously reported that Peggy M. had once been an unsuccessful political candidate for a far-right group in Brandenburg.

In response to the guillotine comment, others contributed by sending around pictures of guillotines with beheaded people and a children’s slide with a barbed cheese-grater at the end. Peggy M. responded with: “OHHHHH how nice!!!”

PeWoBe’s managing director Birgit B. wrote: “I personally find the guillotine to be a totally good suggestion - it will however bring us back into the press and we don’t want that”.

Later, Peggy M. complained about the mess that would be caused by the beheadings.

“You of course are right that no one wants to clean up the mess; I at least would not,” responded Birgit B. “In principle that would be a nice job for the maximally pigmented.”

The firm’s leaders continued to go back and forth about what to do about disposing of the bodies, including using a "large-volume crematorium".

The firm’s lawyer Christian-Oliver Moser told BZ that the statements were taken out of context and were not serious. He also said that the use of the word guillotine had initially been a mistake due to smartphone autocorrect functions.

Berlin’s minister for social affairs Mario Czaja said immediately following the publication of the emails that he was “appalled” and on Sunday announced that he had cancelled all of the firm’s contracts without notice, according to Tagesspiegel.

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“We have received information about several homes where there are deficiencies,” Czaja said.

“The deficiencies were not fully rectified even after repeated inspections… This is not a model for a company that we would want to continue to work with.”

The city must now find another firm to operate the total of nine refugee homes and some residents may have to relocate, Tagespiegel reported.

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