The arriving Ukrainians were given food and water before a team of medical professionals and organizers guided them to safe spaces.
Ukrainian refugees who were displaced from their homes following the attack by Russia and headed to Germany were in for a pleasant surprise as they were welcomed by thousands of Germans with offers to stay at their homes. Those running away from the war were already in a very vulnerable position; the anxiety of finding a place to stay in a foreign land had taken a heavy toll on them. As they alighted at Berlin's central railway station, thousands of refugees were greeted by kind-hearted Germans welcoming them and inviting them to stay at their homes, reported BBC.
Some of the placards read, "Big room. One-three people. Children welcome too! For as long as you want." Another read: "2 adults, 3 children home." One homemade sign read: "Can host two people! Short or long-term." Those who wished to travel to other countries were given free tickets to travel to anywhere in Europe. Those who didn't have any particular destination in mind were ushered into a hall where they were welcomed and handed basic necessities before they met with Germans who offered to host them. The refugees were given food and drink and then handed sim cards for phones, before a team of medical teams, translators, volunteers and organizers guided them.
Thousands of Berlin residents showed up at the central train station with sign boards offering refugees fleeing Ukraine a place to stay pic.twitter.com/5hM45PXOg4— Reuters (@Reuters) March 3, 2022
One incredible moment of humanity during the chaotic scenes was when a man with a megaphone asked if someone could accommodate 13 people and one person stepped forward to huge applause from everyone in the crowd. For many of the Germans waiting at the station, their empathy and kindness stem from their own personal experience. "I am more or less a child of a refugee," said Margot, before explaining that her mother had to flee Hitler's Nazi regime. "So I feel obliged to do something for refugees. It's not Hitler this time, but for me, it somehow feels like what Putin does is what Hitler did before."
The majority of them leaving the country are women and children due to the Ukraine President declaring Martial law that banned men between the ages of 18-60 to leave the country in the wake of the Russian invasion. Anastasiia and her son Artemii were one of many families to arrive by train and seek refuge in Germany. Her husband Dimitrii was forced to stay back in Ukraine. Anastasiia is yet to explain to her son why his Dad isn't with them. "He keeps asking every time about his dad," she said, trembling. "Where is his dad, and when he can he see him? I don't know. I hope soon," said Anastasiia, her eyes welling up. She added that her father had also stayed back in Ukraine. Matina, who opened her home to refugees, said it was the very least they could do. "We have lived in peace our whole life," said Matina. "We don't know what it is like to live in war, it's shocking. Our first thought was we need to help a family so that they can feel safe. We will give them some peace, in this house."
European authorities are also facing flak for denying asylum to thousands of refugees from other parts of the world including the middle east while welcoming Ukrainian refugees without a second's hesitation. The news coverage of the wars has also raised alarms with many openly suggesting that this war felt more personal and threatening to them because Ukrainians much like themselves have "blue eyes" and "blonde hair," noted a report by CNN. Russians continued their onslaught of Ukraine with reports suggesting the city of Mariupol was subjected to "intense Russian strikes," as per an intelligence report filed by the UK Ministry of Defense. "Mariupol remains under Ukrainian control but has likely been encircled by Russian forces," the ministry said, according to CNN.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.