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Queen, politician opens refugee museum in Denmark

Article author:

The Associated Press

Associated Press

Jan M. Olsen

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) — Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Deputy Prime Minister of Germany will open a new museum on Saturday. Refugees who shaped Danish society, including Germans who fled the Soviet advance during World War II.

Flugt — The Danish Refugee Museum was created on the grounds of a camp in the southwestern town of Oxboel. The camp housed up to 100,000 refugees from Germany after the war.

Flugt — meaning escape in Danish — is also the story of immigrants who fled their hometowns to Scandinavian countries such as Iran, Lebanon, Hungary and Vietnam. They tell their story in their own words on a large video screen.

"It is not up to you to be a refugee. You were born in a refugee camp in Lebanon and lived there until you fled to Denmark in 1985 and arrived. Palestinian Sawsan Gharib Dall said in a video.

Curator Klaus Kierd Jensen said that the purpose of the museum is to "turn numbers into people and be on the run." To convey a completely universal problem, emotion, and many nuances related to. "

The museum is a modern, curved wooden and glass building that connects two old brick annexes, designed by renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, which was a post-war hospital building. It has been constructed.

Ingels states that Denmark's recent acceptance of refugees fleeing the Russian war in Ukraine has made the new museum more relevant, but the museum has not specifically addressed them.

Outside the museum, visitors pass by a plaque explaining the fate of the Germans who evacuated to a camp called Oxboelezilen between 1945 and 1949. I will guide you. Most of them eventually settled in the west. In Germany, the graveyard on the premises is the last resting place for those who died there.

The museum, which will be open to the public on June 29, will be funded by private donations and the German government, and Germany's Deputy Prime Minister Roberto Harbeck will represent his country at the opening ceremony on Saturday. increase.

Located 275 kilometers (170 miles) west of Copenhagen, but only 95 kilometers (60 miles) from the German border.

Denmark has been a refugee paradise in the past. Of Denmark's 5.8 million people, more than 650,000 are immigrants and 208,000 are listed in state statistics as descendants of immigrants.

However, in recent years, large-scale migration has been a source of anxiety for Western countries, and the country is trying to limit the number of new entrants it accepts. It has sometimes attracted international criticism about how they tried to discourage them from trying to settle there.

Between Germany and Sweden, Denmark accepted only a small fraction of the more than one million people who arrived from Africa and the Middle East during the 2015 immigration crisis.

More than 11,500 people have applied for asylum in Denmark, 1.1 million in Germany and 163,000 in Sweden. Many saw Denmark only as a transit point because of Denmark's harsh attitude.

In 2016, a law was passed that allowed authorities to seize jewelry and other assets from refugees to help raise housing and other services. In reality, it has only been implemented a handful of times.

Denmark also toys with the idea of ​​revoking some Syrian refugee residence permits and opening a camp for asylum seekers in Rwanda by declaring parts of Syria "safe". I did.

Denmark does not yet have an arrangement to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. However, Britain, which had a similar plan, had to cancel the first planned flight of asylum seekers after the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights, citing "the real risk of irreversible harm". did.

According to official statistics, 2,717 people have so far sought asylum in Denmark this year.