Photo. Refugees waiting to be admitted to the Marienfelde Refugee Center, August 14, 1961
© DHM-Schirner

December 2012

Child's Painting from the daycare at the State of Berlin's Central Intake Center for Ethnic German Repatriates at the former Marienfelde Refugee Center

Child's Painting
Tanja painted this picture of a winter landscape while at the daycare in the State of Berlin's Central Intake Center for Ethnic German Repatriates. We don't know what happened to Tanja – all we know is that she and her family were among those who came to Berlin as “late repatriates” between 1990 and 2010. When the division of Germany ended in 1990, the former Marienfelde Refugee Center went from serving refugees from the GDR to being the Central Intake Center for Late Repatriates. The daycare was one of the facilities that set the course for integration, but it was also somewhere where kids could simply be kids. This was particularly important considering the all that the children had just experienced in the migration process. Arrival in a country where everyone spoke a different language and the loss of familiar surroundings and friends were huge challenges, especially for children. In order to make the transition time easier for them and, at the same time, to help them through integration and learning a new language, the educators at the daycare spoke multiple languages. Some had even gone through similar experiences and knew first-hand how difficult the path to a new life could be. They were thus able to bring the children into their new lives and teach them a new language in a particularly suitable way.

Today, there is still a daycare at Marienfelde where children from all over the world are cared for. In 2010 the Central Intake Center for Late Repatriates became a transitional home for asylum applicants. Children whose families came to Germany as refugees and who are waiting in the transitional home for the resolution of their applications still find a place today to play and paint at the daycare.