A Potemkin Flood Cleanup in Germany

Simbach — staged help by asylum seekers

Last week parts of Europe were hit with torrential rain. As a result, mountainous areas in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany experienced severe and widespread flooding. The video below will give you an idea of the extent of the damage:

Many thanks to Egri Nök for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

In the wake of the floods, German media presented photos and video footage of asylum seekers helping with cleanup efforts. There’s only one problem: the supposed altruism by migrants was actually staged for the cameras by refugee aid groups, possibly in collusion with the local authorities.

Simbach — residents cleaning up after flood

Egri Nök has translated several articles about the phony cleanup efforts by refugees. First, from Schwäbisch Gmünd, as reported by the Rems-Zeitung:

Embarrassing Flood Staging with refugees in the Weststadt [Schwäbisch Gmünd]

Schwäbisch Gmünd, Thursday, June 2 2016

A “help effort” by refugees, staged by the municipality at the request of a foreign camera team, sparked outrage among residents and flood helpers in the Weststadt [a district of Schwäbisch Gmünd], which is still marked by the flood.

The aid became a satire, as several eyewitnesses, independent of one another, described to the Rems-Zeitung, seeking help also in the interests of the obviously “abused asylum seekers”.

Despite the massive irritation, all observers emphasized that they truly pitied the refugees in this situation. They quickly tried to provide work gloves for the men who apparently did not even know what this all was about. They were sent, equipped only with light casual wear and sparkling clean sneakers, and cheerful music from iPhones, and escorted by municipal staff (witness: “tie-wearers”) to the flood cleanup in the Eutighofer Street, where their help was basically not needed anymore. “All of us did not believe our eyes about what was suddenly happening,” says the stunned RZ reader Wolfgang B. Many other citizens of Weststadt also indignantly approached the Rems-Zeitung about this “initiative for show by the town” on Thursday, and even showed videos from their mobiles of this unbelievable satire.

Allegedly the disgruntled residents were about to chase the camera team from a house and garden because of this strange move. The refugees were even forced to fetch back from the containers flood trash that the residents had salvaged long before, to again carry it out of the basements, with an eye towards the media. The citizens were so outraged that, according to reports, there were fisticuffs against the foreign camera team.

The town hall press spokesman Markus Herrmann reassures: This action was indeed unfortunate. He asks for understanding: the camera team from Austria had arrived too late, and one had only intended to reenact for them that the refugees indeed supported the flood victims. The indignant residents of the Weststadt, however, do not know of any such support. Rather, they felt quite on their own until Wednesday.

According to reports, real helpers were not put in the spotlight like the unfortunate refugees, who, a few minutes after their TV appearance, took to their heels. The clear opinion of many flood victims of the Weststadt: Perhaps well-intended by the Lord Mayor, but nevertheless absolutely out of order, this weird initiative.

Update 1: from Junge Freiheit, June 3:

UPDATE: The ORF (Austrian public TV) partially denies town spokesman Hermann’s account to JF. An ORF spokesperson confirmed that he did send a camera team to Schwäbisch Gmünd. However, it was not involved in the staging. It must have been a different station. Town spokesman Hermann was not available anymore at Friday noon to clarify which TV station it actually was.

Update 2: Press release from the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd, June 3:

Gmünder town leadership did not order media staging

Regarding the Media report about a flood piece by a TV team in Schwäbisch Gmünd, the municipality makes it clear that the Gmünd town leadership did not instruct a media staging

Schwäbisch Gmünd (sv). The shooting by a camera team after the storm disaster caused irritation among residents in the Eutighofer Street in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Regarding this, the town administration provides this clarification:

The team had arrived late for the shooting after the storm disaster. As the largest amount of the acute assistance o the night of the disaster and the following day had already been completed at that point, the TV journalists asked to re-enact a few assistance scenes at the access road to town, where the film team found furnishings affected by water damage that still remained. A wish was expressed to specifically film refugees, as they had lent a hand on another occasion in the previous days. At this request, staff from Gmünd refugee care connected with refugees. There was at no point any instruction by the Gmünd town leadership, especially not by Lord Mayor Richard Arnold, to stage an enactment. The Lord Mayor and the department heads were not informed of this shooting and of the request by the camera team, and would not have had the opportunity, the desire, or the time to occupy themselves with details of a media request in the commotion of these events and days.

Egri Nök summarizes media reports on a similar incident in Bavaria. This one has an unusual twist:

A group of asylum seekers protested their move by refusing to leave the town square in Bergen im Chiemgau in Upper Bavaria from Wednesday to Friday. On Friday and Saturday, volunteers drove them to stage helping with the flood in Simbach am Inn in Lower Bavaria, which was devastated by an unprecedented flood earlier this week.

The asylum seekers had been staying in a hotel with full amenities right in Bergen center. A costly solution, that southern German communities had to choose (and pay for), since they are so overrun with refugees. The community organized a smaller house in Waging am See, directly at the lakefront, and renovated it for €100,000. The refugees refuse to move, because, they say, it is a walk of 30 minutes from the new location into the town center:

Refugees refuse to move from Bergen to Waging — in tears

“They simply do not want to be sent into isolation, outside town, no human contact within kilometers, … so they prefer to sit in the town square, until a different, more humane, solution is found” (Statement by the “Helper Set Bergen”, cited from Bayerischer Rundfunk).

Germans actually pay good money to stay in Waging am See for holidays.

The asylum seekers refused to enter the bus that was supposed to take them to Waging am See and instead squatted on the town square in Bergen.

Refugees refuse to move from Bergen to Waging — occupy town square

On Friday morning, volunteers drove the 21 refugees by cars from Bergen to Simbach am Inn to assist in flood aid, under the eyes of TV and photographers. By car, Bergen to Simbach am Inn is a 1 hour 20 minute drive one way.


Video transcript:

00:31   So — at our place, the water, um, devastated the whole ground floor.
00:35   Kitchen, bathroom, living room, all furniture, and the garden,
00:38   the fence and the terrace. All furniture broken.
00:41   The food — even our toothbrushes are gone.
00:44   It’s all torn away.

12 thoughts on “A Potemkin Flood Cleanup in Germany

  1. I have an old saying ” a picture is worth a thousand words even when it is a lie” The propagandists in the political class and the MSM (the government media complex) are well aware of the value of ‘touching’ and ‘bleeding heart’ photos to manipulate opinion. The image is presented with a caption, most folks never read an entire article or report.

  2. Lefties will never let a crisis go to waste. Has anyone else seen the video of the Palestinians carrying a guy on a stretcher, supposedly injured by Israeli rockets, when they dropped him from several feet above the ground and he spryly got up and jumped back on the stretcher so they could keep filming? Or the staged photo of the human smuggler’s baby washing up on the shore? I must look up the definition of Kabuki, because I think it may apply here.

    This junk goes way back. There is another story of aid volunteers in the US making sandwiches to donate to those who had volunteered to perform the search, rescue, dig out, what ever after a devastating natural disaster. I don’t remember if it was a flood, a damn breaking, or what. And members of the American Red Cross ‘volunteered’ to deliver the sandwiches to the workers. When the Red Cross arrived at the location of the crisis they SOLD the sandwiches to the volunteers. The Red Cross will never see a penny from me again after reading that.

    Be very aware of volunteers. Now here in LA it’s Car’s for Kids. They have been exposed as totally crooked. But they still run commercials on the FM radio stations and they are still running their scan now that their exposure has exceeded its 24 -48 hour new cycle. Attention spans have become so short…

    • Scams are everywhere. So is betrayal. We never get used to the chicanery of the human heart, of being blind-sided by another. Yet it is *the* most common experience in life.

      Attention spans for news have always been short. News is designed that way so we’ll come back for more… In one of Anthony Trollope’s wonderful novels, he gives an inside look at the workings of political yellow journalism (I forget the English term – don’t think the “Fleet Street” idiom existed back then).

      In the U.S. Upton Sinclair was our premier muck-raker, as he called himself. The forerunner of today’s investigative journalist, and what he investigated needed it.


      I don’t care for Buzzfeed, but they’ve been doing some good work. For example, exposing an American coyote who has enriched himself in the current slavery market – a good ol’ boy from North Carolina who learned how to scam the HB visa bureaucracy for fun and profit.


      As far as charities go, thia online search for charities is a good one:


      I didn’t see the one you mentioned, but that’s not unusual…

      • Look for “Kars For Kids” — with a K! I change the station immediately when their horrid commercials come on.

  3. The lying media and lying politicians collaborating to produce their usual lies. Why should anyone believe anything these two sleazeball groups say, ever? When the SHTF target your reprisal efforts on these two groups. The Left is utterly immoral.

  4. As a principle, putting the migrants to work is a good one. Rather than sitting around migrant centres, being fed and housed at the cost of German taxpayers, put them to work in work gangs doing physical work in the community. Migrants who refuse to work should face a penalty.

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