No Way Out
Refugees in Athens
Author: Peter Hell
The images of feeble refugees in ramshackle dinghies landing on the coast of the Canary Islands or continental Spain have remained firmly implanted in Europeans' collective memories.
Yet, increasingly tighter controls in Spain have forced the people smugglers to shift their routes towards Eastern Europe.
As a result, Greece has now evolved into the main point of entry for an almost uncontrollable inflow of people from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Algeria.
Once they arrive in Greece, they have officially entered the EU, meaning that it is no longer easy to deport them.
To date, the authorities have registered over 850,000 illegal immigrants, with a further half a million or so estimated to have gone unnoticed.
SPIEGEL TV reporter Peter Hell has followed and observed the stream of refugees - in the people-smuggling heart of Istanbul, on the Turkish/Greek border, in Greek transit camps and in Athens, where many refugees arrive in the hopes of travelling to another destination in Europe offering them work and the hope of a life in dignity.
He also visited a small Greek village not far from the border, where the locals have taken it upon themselves to bury the refugees who drowned in the rough waters of the Maritsa. A final resting place for the nameless dead.
year of production: 2010