Tragedy and Salvation: Refugee Waves in History

Heartbreaking photos of the body of a 3-year-old boy washed up on the Turkish coast on September 3, 2015. The boy in the photo, wearing a red T-shirt and shorts, lying face down on the beach, is just a microcosm of the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa seeking refuge in Europe.

On December 9, 2015, foreign media reported that the US “Time” selected German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the 2015 Person of the Year. One of the reasons she was elected was that her handling of Syrian refugees made her the “conscience of Europe”.

Dec 14, 2015 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she wanted to “dramatically reduce” the number of refugees entering Germany, suggesting she was on the eve of her party’s open-ended refugee policy. Criticism compromised.

What has been described as the largest refugee crisis in European history since World War II is still ongoing.


The earliest refugees in history were the Jews of ancient Egypt.

Jews were called Hebrews in ancient times. They first lived in the Arabian Peninsula. They were present in the civilization of the two rivers more than 4,000 years ago and the heyday of ancient Egyptian civilization. Around 1800 BC, the Jews were persecuted by the ancient Egyptian pharaohs due to their conflict of beliefs and became refugees, leaving Egypt where they had lived for 400 years. After 40 years of hard travel, he reached the ancient land of Canaan, established his own powerful kingdom, and gave birth to classics such as the Ten Commandments of Moses, creating the most glorious chapter in Jewish history. The Neo-Babylonian kingdom wiped out the Jewish state in the 6th century BC. Especially during the rule of ancient Rome, the Romans drove all the Jews out of the holy city of Jerusalem, and the Jews once again began to migrate all over Europe as refugees. The migration of Jews brought the development of manufacturing, service and financial industries to Europe, which was in a backward agricultural and pastoral society at that time. On a certain level, it has promoted the development of European business and the prosperity of the economy.

Landing in North America

The British began exploring North America as early as the late 15th century. Around the beginning of the 16th century, Columbus discovered the New World of North America. Since then, a large number of refugees have migrated to the American continent for economic and religious reasons. The “Mayflower” that arrived in New England in 1620 brought a group of Separatist Puritans, and the 41 people who signed the convention on board were called “primitive settlers”.

Beginning in the first half of the 19th century, throughout Europe, due to the disintegration of the traditional economy by the Industrial Revolution, the increase in productivity caused a large number of laborers to lose employment opportunities. The rise of revolutionary movements in Europe, social unrest, and Europeans yearning for the United States. The industry in the United States has developed tremendously and requires a large amount of labor. During this period, refugees mainly composed of poor pioneers, exiled prisoners, Puritans who could not be recognized at home, and new bourgeois aristocrats eager to develop came to the United States.

Between 1815 and 1860, about 5 million people went to the United States, of which about 2 million were Irish, about 1.7 million were Germans, and about 750,000 were from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and a few from Sweden. , Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands, forming the prototype of the United States. By the end of the 19th century, the United States had become an industrial power. In 1884, the net output value of industrial production exceeded the agricultural output value for the first time. In 1919, the proportion of industrial production accounted for 65%. Skilled workers from Europe, advanced science and technology and management, etc. The development of American society, politics, economy and culture has played a great role in promoting it.

Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany

In Europe, the rejection of Jews did not decrease over time. Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” portrayed the wealthy Jewish businessman Sherlock as a brutal, greedy, bloodthirsty demon.

Since the 19th century, with the rapid development of the capitalist economy, Jewish merchants have become the representatives of capitalism, which, to a certain extent, has further stimulated the conflicts between Jews and other European nations. In the late 19th century, as the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe intensified, thousands of Jews began to flee, most of them to the United States, Canada and Western Europe. A total of about two million Jews arrived in the United States during this period.

In the early days of the Nazis, Jews almost monopolized news, medical care, finance, law and education in Europe, which made the monopoly capitalist class who supported the Nazi Party at that time hated Jewish businessmen very much and tried every means to replace them.

During World War II, the persecution of Jews reached its peak, and the massacre that wiped out about 6 million Jews almost completely destroyed the 2,000-year cultural and historical precipitation of Jews in Europe. From 1933 to 1945, more than 200,000 European Jewish refugees came to the United States, many of them elites from various industries. This time, the refugees are especially famous for scientists. In addition to Einstein, who is most well-known to the public, there is also von Braun, the chief designer of the rocket. , economics master Friedrich List, Werner Heisenberg, Fermi, Hahn and many other nuclear physicists. The United States, precisely because of the help of a large number of Jewish scientists, made the United States’ scientific and technological strength soar rapidly after the war, surpassing European countries, especially Germany, and becoming the world’s scientific and technological center.

The contribution of American Jews to American society far exceeds the average contribution of other ethnic groups to the United States. American Jews account for less than 3% of the total American population, but their contribution is far greater than this number. Especially in the fields of science, education, economy, politics and law, some have even become traditional fields for Jewish practitioners. In the legal world, in the 1970s, Jewish lawyers accounted for 20%, and Jewish practitioners in the judiciary accounted for 33%. Among the American scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, Jews account for nearly 30%, 33% of the faculty members of the eastern famous universities are Jewish, and 10% of the doctors are Jewish. Among the NASA technicians and scientists, there have been as many as 60% Jewish. The American film production industry was created by Jews. The first feature film with sound was shot by Warner Bros. All of Warner Bros. were Jewish. The founders of the other ten major production companies were all Jewish, and the director Steven Spielberg was also Jewish. In the Internet industry, Jews also have a place, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is also Jewish.

Refugees in the Cold War

After World War II, the East and the West formed a Cold War pattern.

Under this Cold War mentality, from 1949 to 1961, about 3.1 million Germans came from the GDR to the Federal Republic of Germany. On December 3, 1978, the first batch of Vietnamese “boat people” crossed the sea on the tanker “Haihong” and arrived in Hannover, Germany after untold hardships. Refugees, both legal and illegal, are without exception warmly welcomed in Western European countries. At the economic level, the fleeing labor force is an important resource for the reconstruction of homeland in Western European countries, and it is of great significance for post-war economic recovery and social reconstruction.

After the end of World War II, due to the needs of national economic and social reconstruction, major Western European countries such as Britain, France, and Germany faced the situation of labor shortage caused by war. Take the Federal Republic of Germany as an example. In 1961, it signed an agreement with Turkey, Portugal in 1964, Yugoslavia in 1968, Morocco in 1963 and 1966, and Tunisia in 1965. According to the incomplete statistics of the German Immigration and Refugee Bureau, about 15 million foreign workers came to the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany entered the “era of guest workers”.

The residence of “guest workers”, including refugees, is limited to a certain time, and they need to return to the country after the service period expires. This mobility of “guest workers”, on the one hand, has played a positive role in preventing the long-term stay of foreign workers and reducing the number of foreigners in the Federal Republic of Germany; on the other hand, the mobility of guest workers is not Conducive to the accumulation of work skills and the improvement of labor productivity. As a result, the Federal Government of Germany tries to keep those foreign workers with considerable working skills in Germany. At the same time, foreign workers are also struggling to obtain long-term residence permits in Germany. As a result, the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Germany proposed to the guest workers that those foreign laborers who did not want to be separated from their families in their country of birth had to choose one of the two options: either return to their hometown or move their families to Germany. In the end, more than 3 million people stayed and subsequently moved their families to Germany through a family reunification policy.

After the Second World War, Europe was in a post-war period where the economy was booming, and labor was urgently needed. Those guest workers and refugees were quickly absorbed by the European labor market, which strongly promoted the revival of the entire Europe. However, as the European economy slows, the number of refugees continues to rise, raising numerous problems. Taking Germany as an example, since the 1980s, German society has gradually developed dissatisfaction with the overly loose asylum policy, and the political circles have gradually introduced management methods such as reducing subsidies and centralized accommodation, hoping to prevent the flow of refugees. scare effect. With the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany, German society’s dissatisfaction with foreign refugees reached a peak. 1992 was a disgraceful year in German history: the number of people applying for asylum in Germany reached a record 438,191 in that year, and it was the residents of the former GDR city of Rostock who remained in the memory of the world. The mob openly set fire to the refugee’s house and shouted loudly after besieging the refugee’s house for several days, killing Turkish residents of Solingen and other places who had lived in Germany for many years.

European refugee tide

The Syrian refugee issue actually started in 2011, but on September 3, 2015, a photo of a little boy on the beach really caught the world’s attention.

On September 5, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the lead in stating that most Syrian refugees stranded in Hungary should seek asylum in Germany. For all of 2015, Germany is expected to receive around 800,000 asylum applications. On September 5, Germany and Austria officially decided to open their borders to take in thousands of refugees stranded on the Hungarian border. On the same day, the first train full of refugees arrived at the Munich railway station. German people gathered at the station, holding relief supplies, balloons and candy, offered their warm welcome. According to the “New York Times” report, from the evening of September 5 to September 6, tens of thousands of refugees gathered in Munich were sent to various cities in Germany under the arrangement of the German government. Among them, Dortmund was allocated At 1,500, Brunswick 650 and Saalfeld 470. In just two days after the refugees arrived at the German border, nearly 20,000 refugees have started a new life under the prompt arrangement of various social parties. In the early morning of September 7, local time, the German government initially reached a plan to solve the refugee crisis: about 6 billion euros of funds were urgently allocated for use, of which 3 billion euros will be allocated to the federal states and municipalities that receive refugees; Measures for the further influx of refugees, on the one hand, have increased support for the integration of Syrian war refugees into German society. The meeting made a resolution to improve the efficiency of refugee qualification review. Countries and regions such as Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo will be included in the list of “stable regions”, and the review threshold for refugees from these regions will be significantly increased; most cash subsidies for refugees It will be replaced by in-kind subsidies, and social security will also be greatly reduced; for refugees who fail to pass the review, the period of compulsory repatriation will be shortened from 6 months to within 3 months. The German Federal Police will expand its recruitment by 3,000 people in the next three years to cope with the increasing number of asylum applications.

Between October and November, the number of refugees reached as high as 10,000 a week, and the growing number of refugees has led Germany to embark on a number of measures to tighten its refugee policy. Elsewhere in Europe, anti-refugee sentiment is also on the rise. Some dignitaries have said that Europe should “spend money” to block refugees, and some governments have advertised to persuade refugees not to come. The social problems caused by refugees are increasing day by day, and news about the rape and murder of refugees in Europe is widely circulated on the Internet.

The refugee flock to Europe bears striking resemblance to the first Vietnamese refugees accepted by the United States in 1975. Many of them are local middle-class fluent English-speaking, highly educated and skilled locals who can effectively Complement the labor shortage in Europe due to the ageing population in recent years. According to German official statistics, there are currently 574,000 job vacancies in Germany, and many companies cannot find suitable candidates for the job vacancies. The refugee tide can provide Germany with many high-quality talents: engineers, scholars, professional and technical personnel, etc. And Germany doesn’t just need engineers, it also needs non-highly educated workforces such as healthcare workers, jobs in these fields that are ideal for refugees. The arrival of these high-quality refugees can, on the one hand, increase the productivity of the country, and on the other hand, reduce the labor cost of the domestic enterprises, and at the same time suppress the labor cost expectations of the residents of the country. In the case of the overall economic environment is not good, the European chief economist of Nordic Union Bank Sant said: “In 2015-2016, Germany’s GDP is expected to achieve a growth of 0.25%.” His reason is that the German government has increased the resettlement of refugees. s expenses. “It costs about 12,000 euros to house and care for a refugee a year,” Sant said. “This will add a total of 5.4 billion euros to the budget, or about 0.2 percent of the 2015 budget.” This amounts to a small stimulus economic policy. Of course, the refugee problem is a double-edged sword for Europe. Religious problems, high birth rates, and crime problems will follow.

The tragedy has aroused sympathy. How to resettle these refugees benignly, how to deal with the conflict of interests between refugees and local nationals, and help them integrate into European society quickly are the practical problems that need to be solved at present; and how to remove the root cause of refugees, so that the tragedy will not end It is the fundamental problem that people face for a long time.

error: Content is protected !!