Immediate use of free rail capacity of Deutsche Bahn AG for the connection Athens-Thessaloniki-Berlin

[german] ** [greek]

The situation is dramatically escalating for more than 50,000 refugees who are stranded in Greece, amongst them more than 10,000 in the fields near the fence in Idomeni on the frontier. The escalation is threefold: Firstly, because there is not enough space for refugees to stay overnight and camps on the islands are gradually resembling prisons. Secondly, because Greece is put under massive pressure by the EU, and in particular Berlin, to acknowledge Turkey as a “safe third country“ in order to enforce deportations on a large scale. Thirdly, because Turkey is showing day by day that it is not prepared to adhere strictly to the human rights turning down refugees on its borders, imprisoning refugees and deporting many – even to countries where they have to face torture and death.

In this situation, we appeal to the Federal Government of Germany to let the refugees who are stranded in Greece travel on trains of hope to Germany. German railway service Deutsche Bahn AG is in charge of more than two dozen sleeping cars having not been in use since the termination of the DB motorail trains in 2014. We could imagine that at Deutsche Bahn and at DB European Service, their subsidiary, there are colleagues who would like to work on these trains of hope.

Most of the refugees who are stranded in Greece would meet the necessary criteria to receive asylum in Germany anyway. Several thousands of them have a direct claim to safe residence in Germany because family members are already living in our country.

We remind you of the summer 2015, when the Federal Government of Germany and Deutsche Bahn were prepared to install similar trains of hope for the refugees stuck in Budapest back then. What Bodo Ramelow, governor of Thuringia, said some days ago referring to the refugees in Idomeni, we now say with reference to the refugees being stranded in Greece: “We can do it!“

Initial signers (31th march 2016)

  • Joachim Holstein, member of the works council DB European Railservice GmbH (DB ERS )
  • Peter Dreller, former chair of General Works Council DB European Railservice GmbH
  • Barbara Huber, alternate member of th works council DB European Railservice GmbH
  • Dorothee Vakalis, pastor (retired), Thessaloniki
  • Marie-Dominique Vernhes, editorial team „Sand im Getriebe“ („spanner in the works); member of Attac Germany’s working group on international issues

For the expert group „railway for the people instead of the stock markets“ (Bürgerbahn statt Börsenbahn – BsB):

  • Thilo Böhmer (engine driver)
  • Johannes Hauber, President “Railway Equipment Manufacturing Committee industriAll”, Mannheim
  • Klaus Gietinger, director, Michendorf
  • Andreas Kleber, Schorndorf
  • Andreas Kegreiß, Dipl.-Ingenieur (BA), Herrenberg
  • Prof. Heiner Monheim, Bonn
  • Prof. Jürgen Rochlitz, Burgwald-Eder
  • Dr. Winfried Wolf, chief editor Lunapark21 und FaktenCheck:HELLAS, Wilhemshorst

For the campaign group „Train of remembrance“:

  • Hans-Rüdiger Minow (executive spokesman)
  • Tatjana Engel (executive board)

Initiators/ coordinators:

Dorothee Vakalis, Thessaloniki; Marie-Dominique Vernhes, Hamburg; Dr. Winfried Wolf, Wilhelmshorst

We ask you to support our apeal: [Apeal is closed.]