In an old Nazi army barrack, a stone’s throw from the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremburg, every inch of space is being used to process applications for political asylum.
Even in the large conference room, which still bears a swastika in its marble floor, employees of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees sit bunched together processing the claims. In an adjacent hallway, the newly appointed head of the agency, Jutta Cordt, sits in a spartanly decorated office. She has priorities, she explains, and right now, hanging pictures isn’t one of them.
Ms. Cordt has succeeded Frank-Jürgen Weise, who decided in May of 2016 to step down from the agency’s top position by the beginning of the year. Even prior to the refugee crisis in 2015, the agency, known by its German acronym BAMF, had been criticized for dragging its feet when it came to processing asylum applications – in some instances taking up to two years to do so.