The private space of the Redjep family can be measured by the number of beds in it – five. The metal frames are arranged next to each other, topped with sagging mattresses and musty sheets and blankets. Two screens shield them from their neighbors.
Erwin, the head of the family of five from Macedonia, puts his hands in the pockets of his gray sweatpants and takes a look around the drab refugee center where his family is sheltered, a former school in the old coalmining city of Dortmund.
“I feel like an invalid, although I am as fit as a fiddle,” he says.
Mr. Redjep is one of hundreds of refugees who arrive in the northeast German city every day. “On foot, by taxi or tractor,” said a spokesperson for the mayor. Some stay, others are taken by bus to other cities.
Dortmund, like nearby Bielefeld, is an initial processing point for refugees. From there they are moved to the former school or one of eight other locations. The influx is proving too much for the city, as it is for many municipalities in Germany.