Erfurt (dpa/th) - More and more municipalities are turning to the Thuringian State Association of Sinti and Roma for help when taking in refugees from Ukraine. "We have been receiving calls for help from the authorities since the beginning of July," said the chairman Jens Hellmann on Tuesday when asked. The background is that since the beginning of the month, more and more Roma who have fled have come to Thuringia by bus. Many of them are illiterate, and there are also reservations among the local population. Since then, the association's social workers and interpreters have been traveling to the respective locations and helping with translation or accommodation.
The Thuringian district assembly named problems in an open letter last week. The possibilities of the districts to ensure adequate accommodation are exhausted, it said. The president of the district council, Martina Schweinsburg (CDU), wrote that the accommodation of arriving large families was problematic for the municipalities.
The Sinti and Roma who have fled are mostly women with their children, said Hellmann. "These are all normal, nice families." The fact that large families with several dozen people come to the Free State is "the total exception". He warned that people who lost their village and their belongings in the war do not want to lose their social contacts as well.
According to Hellmann, many people in the communities felt threatened by the arriving Roma. There are hostilities and false accusations. In some cases, landlords, even in regions with a lot of vacancies, withdraw their offers of apartments when they learn that refugees are involved. On the one hand, there is a bureaucratic hurdle - namely that social welfare offices do not take over the housing deposit. "But secondly, these are also the regions where racism is particularly entrenched and people want to keep to themselves."
According to the Thuringian state administration office, around 23,500 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Thuringia so far. A spokeswoman said there had always been extended families among them in the past few weeks. The office does not record how many of them are Roma. Roma are considered the largest ethnic minority in Europe and, according to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, continue to struggle with "unacceptable discrimination".