By Sylvia Cunningham and Don Clyde
Updated on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m.
Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed Tuesday that Germany will take in more than 1,500 additional refugees living in Greece, most of them families with children.
The announcement comes in the wake of a fire last week that burned down a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos and ongoing disagreements within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition about how many refugees Germany would accommodate.
The joint decision from Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) brings the total of incoming refugees from the Greek islands to about 2,750, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement Tuesday.
Seibert added that Germany will work with other EU member states to find a “farther-reaching European solution” and would participate “in accordance to the size of our country.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced anti-Semitism in a speech on Tuesday marking the 70th anniversary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
In a ceremony at Berlin’s New Synagogue, Merkel said although Jewish life is flourishing today in Germany, the fact that many Jews don’t feel safe or respected here worries her deeply.
The chancellor said she’s ashamed of growing racism and anti-Semitism, adding that Jewish citizens are still targeted by threats and conspiracy theories.
Merkel cited the deadly Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Halle nearly a year ago as an example of how quickly words can turn into action.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany was formed five years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust.
Today, the Council represents about 100,000 members and more than 100 Jewish communities across the country.
Berlin police are advising residents to stay alert after a series of thefts from mailboxes in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg and Mitte.
Police suspect perpetrators are looking to swipe people’s new EC and credit cards.
Police spokeswoman Sara Dieng advised residents to double check the expiration dates of their cards and then call their banks to see if new cards were already sent.
She added it’s critical for Berliners who suspect there’s been a break-in in their apartment building to not touch anything and instead call the police.
According to a report from the daily Berliner Morgenpost, the perpetrators often return to the same apartments to try to intercept subsequent letters with the bank card PIN numbers.
The newspaper reports there have been at least 3,800 such mailbox break-ins in Berlin this year.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.