A Village Called Sumte Receives 800 Refugees

Germany designates Sumte, population 102, as a sanctuary for nearly 800 refugees

In the fall of 2015, Germany enacted a plan to relocate hundreds of thousands of refugees from Italy and Greece to other parts of Europe. Sumte, a small village of 102 residents in Lower Saxony, was designated as a sanctuary for approximately 800 refugees. The villagers of Sumte were not consulted regarding the decision and were initially skeptical of the plan. They expressed concerns about the potential impact on their small community and the lack of information regarding the details of the plan. The villagers of Sumte, like many Germans, are largely pragmatic and skeptical in their political views and were not against the proposal for purely ideological reasons.

A living experiment in German principles

The villagers of Sumte are not against refugees or immigration, but they are skeptical of the decision to locate a refugee sanctuary in their town without their consent. This situation has created a living experiment in German principles, such as openness, inclusivity, and rational decision-making. The people of Sumte are committed to making the situation work for the benefit of all involved, despite their initial skepticism.

The villagers' suspicion

The villagers of Sumte are aware of the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe and have seen the images of capsized trawlers and desperate people seeking asylum. They may initially have been suspicious of the decision to locate a refugee sanctuary in their town because they are largely skeptical of authority and decision-making that occurs at the national level. The villagers are largely unaware of the details of the plan and have not been consulted in any way.

Reinhard Schlemmer: A forgotten hero

Reinhard Schlemmer, a former mayor and a former officer in the National People's Army, has watched the developments in Sumte with concern. Schlemmer, a grizzled figure with a wild nest of silver hair, has lived in the town for many years and was the mayor when the border came down. He has seen the town's struggles and its successes and has always been a pillar of the community. He understands the challenges that the town will face with the influx of refugees and is committed to making the situation work for the benefit of all involved.

Grit Richter: A pragmatic problem solver

Grit Richter, the current mayor of Amt Neuhaus (the municipality containing Sumte), has also been concerned about the situation in Sumte. She has worked tirelessly to bring jobs and investment to the area, and the news of a thousand refugees landing in Sumte lands in her lap like an albatross. She is a pragmatic problem solver and has been working to ensure that the town is prepared for the arrival of the refugees. She is committed to making the situation work for the benefit of all involved and has been working with local businesses and organizations to ensure that the town has the resources it needs to accommodate the refugees.

An emergency meeting

In the face of the crisis, Grit Richter schedules an emergency meeting at the Hotel Hannover, Amt Neuhaus's only inn. She greets Angela Bagunk, the inn's owner, and together they bore into the crowd. The banquet hall is classic 1970s GDR, a mauve-and-faux-wood assemblage fit for a politburo confab, and not even Bagunk's artfully placed yellow balloons do much to cheer it up. The fake flowers are sun-faded, the parquet is as worn as a roller rink. Just now the room is in chaos. Four hundred crowd-averse country people have crammed themselves inside, backed all the way to the foyer. They're peering owlishly through the windows, bestriding the begonias.

The media

Someone has also alerted the media, and Richter eyes without affection the journalists from several papers, national and international, who are pressed against the back doors, interviewing her constituents. The story, it seems, is a perfect metaphor for the crisis'one thousand refugees to one hundred villagers'an overwhelming invasion'and Richter knows that the journalists are hoping to capture a panic. She walks to the stage and starts talking as calmly as she can.