Letter From Europe: As Germany Takes In Refugees, It Also Rehabilitates Its Image

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Migrants new to Germany boarded a sight final week in Dortmund.

Gordon Welters for The New York Times

MUNICH — “This is a best day of my life,” Ghadir Douba wrote on his Facebook page in German and Arabic on Sept. 1. Four years after withdrawal Syria with his relatives and nearing in Germany during age 17, he had perceived his German pass and a news that he had upheld his initial vital examination in medical propagandize on a same day. “No longer a foreigner!” his standing refurbish read.

Mr. Douba’s mother, Adiba Hamed, who, like him, spoke no German when they emigrated shortly before fight pennyless out during home, recently competent to learn German as a second language. (As it happened, she sealed her initial agreement on Sept. 1, too.)

“Germany non-stop a borders and a arms to us,” Ms. Hamed said, as she walked into a facile propagandize where she will start training subsequent week. On a notice house in a corridor was a acquire print with 18 inhabitant flags. The Syrian dwindle was right in a middle.

“It’s a usually republic with such a transparent message,” Ms. Hamed, 44, said. “Even Arab countries have sealed their borders. All Syrians wish to come to Germany.”

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Closing a Back Door to Europe

In new months European nations have worked to retard a categorical track taken by migrants journey fight and upheaval.

Plenty of migrants are headed to Sweden and a Netherlands, too. Some even demeanour to Britain, where Prime Minister David Cameron has described them as “swarms.”

But a images of migrants chanting “Germany, Germany” as they wobble their approach opposite a Continent toward their new betrothed land have changed many in a republic that has for decades been perplexing to atone for a genocide it committed in World War II. In a difference of Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose apparent mercilessness during a Greek bailout talks stirred mocked-up photographs of her dressed in Nazi uniform: “The universe sees Germany as a republic of wish and opportunity, and that was positively not always a case.”

In one haven seeker’s home in Hanover, in western Germany, a mom called her baby “Angela Merkel.” In Munich, uninformed off a train, a organisation of immature Syrians insisted that they would do anything for Germany. “Even turn a soldier,” Othman, a 22-year-old from Damascus, affianced — pithy difference entrance from someone who had fled a existence of war.

The German news media has called it a “September angel tale.” Germany’s munificence over new weeks has been met with equally distinguished declarations of faithfulness from those who contend they owe Berlin their lives and their dignity. Could this be a commencement of a finish of Germany’s postwar rehabilitation?

In 2006, there was speak of a “summer angel tale.” Germany hosted a soccer World Cup. The universe detected a much-transformed nation, welcoming, big-hearted and fun-loving, even when a inhabitant group was kicked out of a semifinals by Italy. At a time, Germany was nicknamed “world champion of hospitality.”

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Seeking a Fair Distribution of Migrants in Europe

German and European Union leaders have called for European countries to share a weight of interesting a hundreds of thousands of migrants who have poured into a continent this summer.

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But this time is different. The liberality on offer is not usually for a generation of a championship or since of a proxy labor shortage, that in a 1960s stirred an invitation to “guest workers” from Turkey and elsewhere in a (misguided) expectancy that they would go behind home. This time, if Ms. Merkel is to be believed, Germany is consciously perplexing to lay a substructure for new groups of hyphenated Germans: Syrian-Germans, Iraqi-Germans, Afghan-Germans.

“If we do this well,” she told Parliament this month, “we can usually win.”

Europe is once again heedful of Germany. This time, it is not an assertive Germany that wants to enhance a borders though an aggressively inexhaustible one that is opening a borders, new controls notwithstanding.

Two questions are frequently raised: Is Europe’s richest and many populous republic still perplexing to palliate a demur 70 years after a war? And does a new “Willkommenskultur” have a mercantilist corner given a timorous and aging population?

One German broadsheet, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, recently suggested that when Germany thinks about refugees, it unequivocally thinks about itself.

Such speak does not worry Moussa Mohammad, a cardiologist and father of 4 from Dara’a, Syria, who perceived interloper standing in Germany in February. “If Germany needs us, good,” he said. “Because we need Germany.”