Romanian Laborer Death Highlights Plight of Immigrants in Germany
A young Romanian laborer died recently when he became trapped trying to steal from a used clothing container. His death was tragic, and yet his difficult life was typical for tens of thousands of workers from Eastern Europe.
Two passersby walking to work on a freezing February morning make a gruesome discovery — two human legs sticking out of a container for used clothing in the Oststadt district of Hanover.
A man is stuck in the container, upside down, jammed into the opening of a partially engaged metal lid. He has stopped breathing and his limbs are frozen stiff. Firefighters need special equipment to recover the lifeless body. The autopsy reveals that he suffocated.
Few people in Hanover knew the man who died, a 23-year-old, single, Romanian laborer named Kristian Serban. He died while trying to steal used clothing from the container.
For the public prosecutor’s office, the case is quickly resolved. Because there was apparently no third party involved in his death, the case is promptly relegated to the files, and treated as nothing more than a tragic accident. But the miserable death of the young Romanian, who lost his life for a few articles of used clothing, highlights the situation of migrant workers from Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
Tens of thousands of men and women from Eastern Europe slave away in Germany alone. They work as construction laborers, clean kitchens in restaurants, harvest asparagus and pick apples in the countryside, and some young women even sell their bodies as prostitutes. Many work without the necessary permits, are paid miserable wages and live in rundown housing. Nevertheless, they prefer life in Germany to the miserable conditions in their native countries.