Hundreds of Ukrainians arrive in Osnabrück – Käthe Kollwitz school becomes refugee accommodation

“Shut the sky”, this photo hangs in the refugee house. / Photo: Brockfeld

A bloody war has been raging in Ukraine for nearly a month. Meanwhile, some 3.5 million people have fled abroad and another 6.5 million are fleeing to their own country. To provide for Ukrainians in Osnabrück, refugee accommodation was set up in the former Käthe Kollwitz school.

A lot has happened recently in the former Käthe Kollwitz school (KKS): the city of Osnabrück has set up accommodation for refugees from Ukraine in the buildings. Up to 300 people are said to find temporary refuge here. At the moment, however, a maximum of 60 refugees can be accommodated, as Bernhard Overberg School will still use some premises until April.

Already well equipped accommodation

Temporary rooms with bunk beds and partitions have already been set up in the gym. There is a room with washing machines and the kitchen in the canteen of the city hospital provides the meals. The immigration authorities moved to a room so that they could record the refugee data. Additionally, refugees can be tested for Corona with a specially installed PCR device and have the opportunity to be vaccinated against the virus. Most Ukrainians stay in the KKS for only 24-72 hours and then move to private accommodation.

Mayor Katharina Pötter (2nd from right) is shown a room in the KKS gymnasium. / Photo: Brockfeld

availability and improvisation

“In a short time, an infrastructure was built on the premises of the former Käthe Kollwitz school, with which we can temporarily accommodate refugees fleeing the war”, says the mayor. Catherine Poet. “We are experiencing a great willingness to help in Osnabrück, 600 people contacted us to offer private accommodation. We had to improvise to organize everything so quickly. Our colleague Yuliya drunkard actually works in the finance department. Since you are of Ukrainian origin, you now work as a translator at the Käthe Kollwitz School ”.

Aids are available in the KKS gymnasium.  / Photo: Brockfeld
Aids are available in the KKS gymnasium. / Photo: Brockfeld

Many stay with friends or relatives

Nearly 20 refugees from Ukraine are currently assigned to the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays by the state of Lower Saxony. In addition, other refugees who seek accommodation at KKS at irregular intervals reach the city of peace. Meanwhile, 984 refugees known to the municipal administration have found accommodation thanks to friendly or family relations with Ukrainians living in Osnabrück. A total of 403 private accommodations reported by Osnabrück residents are currently available. In the past few weeks, 119 people have been placed in 34 accommodations by the Department of Social Affairs.

Washing machines in refugee accommodation.  / Photo: Brockfeld
Washing machines in refugee accommodation. / Photo: Brockfeld

More refugees are expected

The situation in Ukraine is getting worse by the day and observers do not expect the flow of refugees to end anytime soon. “I expect that we will have to welcome many more war refugees to the city in the coming weeks,” said the mayor. “So we are exploring and looking for properties in the area of ​​the city where we can host and care for more people. In particular, we must take care of children and young people. Babies must first be allowed to arrive before they can be offered to go to kindergartens and schools. That won’t be easy either. Regardless, the Department of Childhood, Youth and Family is putting together a program for Ukrainian children and their mothers ”.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine began less than a month ago. In this short time, around half of the refugees arrived in Osnabrück compared to the entire refugee crisis in 2015/16.

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