Station: [20] Refugees and Displaced Persons

F: Anyone who walks around Offenbach with eyes open and ears pricked will see and hear that it’s an international city. The people living here have more than a 150 different nationalities between them. 

M: Offenbach has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. It all began with the arrival of the Huguenots in 1699. Even during the time of the German Empire, from 1871 to1918, the city had a small Italian community. People from Austria-Hungary and other states of the time were drawn to our city on the River Main. 

F: After the Second World War, barely 70,000 people were left in a devastated city. But thousands of refugees and displaced persons from Germany’s former eastern territories arrived during the immediate post-war period. Some who settled in Offenbach were people from Egerland who had been driven out of their Bohemian homes. The exhibits in the display case, which was designed in cooperation with the local Egerland community, include a richly embroidered traditional bonnet. 

M: By 1954, Offenbach had 100,000 inhabitants – and officially became a major city under German law.  

F: At the time of the economic miracle, the number of residents again increased. Many so called “guest workers” came here, especially following recruitment agreements with Italy in 1955, and then with Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Morocco, Greece and Portugal in 1961. A lot of those people had come to stay. 

M: Under EU freedom of movement, more Europeans settled in Offenbach from 2004. Then wars in the Middle East led to an influx of people from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq in 2015. As climate catastrophes and armed conflicts continue to ravage our planet, there’s no end in sight to the migration story.

F: Your tour of the House of City History, on the other hand, has now come to an end. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. Before we say goodbye, one more hot tip: you’ll find three more audio stops around the city. 

M: Goodbye – or Tschö! as we say here in Hessen.

F: Tschö!

Foto: © Dagmar Trüpschuch