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hope

In 2015 and 2016, millions of refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia poured into Europe, stoking xenophobic fears in many countries and even provoking some to try to close their borders. Meanwhile Germany - an economic powerhouse with a falling birth rate and a historic image to shed - threw open its doors, particularly to Syrians fleeing a brutal civil war. Since then, more than 1.4 million people have applied for asylum in Germany, and the German government and population have launched a massive effort to integrate the refugee community. These photographs were taken in Berlin, Wurzburg and Kaufbeuren during a research trip in March 2018 to see how the refugee integration was proceeding mainly for the Syrian community. Many of the photos accompany a policy report by Lily Hindy, published by The Century Foundation and supported in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

 Syrian refugees Abdulrahman and Noura Alzghaer display a silver-plated Quran in their new home in Kaufbeuren, Germany

Syrian refugees Abdulrahman and Noura Alzghaer display a silver-plated Quran in their new home in Kaufbeuren, Germany

 Germany's national symbol, known as the Federal Eagle ( Bundesadler ), seen on a federal building in Berlin

Germany's national symbol, known as the Federal Eagle (Bundesadler), seen on a federal building in Berlin

Nearly 500 refugees have been given temporary housing in a container village at the site of Berlin's former Tempelhof Airport

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 A number of Syrian refugees have found work in the Arab restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops dotting the famous Sonnenallee street in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln

A number of Syrian refugees have found work in the Arab restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops dotting the famous Sonnenallee street in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln

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 Chef and owner Abu Zaher from Damascus works with a staff of mostly Syrian refugees at Damascus Gate restaurant on Sonnenalle street

Chef and owner Abu Zaher from Damascus works with a staff of mostly Syrian refugees at Damascus Gate restaurant on Sonnenalle street

 Barbara Meyer is the executive director of the Berlin-based youth arts education nonprofit organization  Schlesische 27  (S27), which provides arts programs for teenage refugees 

Barbara Meyer is the executive director of the Berlin-based youth arts education nonprofit organization Schlesische 27 (S27), which provides arts programs for teenage refugees 

 As part of the month's theme of cinema at S27, a group of refugees from Syria and the Congo dressed up for a short film featuring aliens, shot with green screen

As part of the month's theme of cinema at S27, a group of refugees from Syria and the Congo dressed up for a short film featuring aliens, shot with green screen

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 S27 Program Coordinator Anton Schünemann said he thinks the participants from refugee backgrounds "are getting way younger and that their social problems are getting worse"

S27 Program Coordinator Anton Schünemann said he thinks the participants from refugee backgrounds "are getting way younger and that their social problems are getting worse"

  OMAsCafe  is a co-working space in Berlin that hosts initiatives by and for refugees located in  Holzmarkt , a new “urban village” founded by former owners of Berlin’s legendary nightclub Bar25

OMAsCafe is a co-working space in Berlin that hosts initiatives by and for refugees located in Holzmarkt, a new “urban village” founded by former owners of Berlin’s legendary nightclub Bar25

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 (L–R) Mohamed Alhalabi, a Syrian refugee now studying at Berlin's University of the Arts, in a university recording studio with friends from Damascus Yazan Albaour, Tareq Assad, and Odah Bashi 

(L–R) Mohamed Alhalabi, a Syrian refugee now studying at Berlin's University of the Arts, in a university recording studio with friends from Damascus Yazan Albaour, Tareq Assad, and Odah Bashi 

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“A certain part of our society when they see a woman in hijab say, you are demonstrating here ‘I do not want to belong to you’- ‘I don’t want to be a part of your society....’”
 At the Deutsch Stammtisch, or "German Table," Syrian refugees and other newcomers practice their German language with local residents of Kaufbeuren

At the Deutsch Stammtisch, or "German Table," Syrian refugees and other newcomers practice their German language with local residents of Kaufbeuren

 Syrian refugees Abdulrahman and Noura Alzghaer, with son Abdullah, feel fortunate to have found a Turkish landlord that would rent them an apartment in the Bavarian town of Kaufbeuren 

Syrian refugees Abdulrahman and Noura Alzghaer, with son Abdullah, feel fortunate to have found a Turkish landlord that would rent them an apartment in the Bavarian town of Kaufbeuren 

 Norbert, a longtime resident of Kaufbeuren, said that "a certain part of our society when they see a woman in hijab say, you are demonstrating here 'I do not want to belong to you'- 'I don’t want to be a part of your society'"

Norbert, a longtime resident of Kaufbeuren, said that "a certain part of our society when they see a woman in hijab say, you are demonstrating here 'I do not want to belong to you'- 'I don’t want to be a part of your society'"

 Local residents and refugees from Iraq and Syria bring their infants and toddlers to a "speak and crawl group" ( Sprachurabbel Gruppe ) organized by the Arbeitskreis Asyl Kaufbeuren, a volunteer organization set up in 1989 to help refugees arriving in the town 

Local residents and refugees from Iraq and Syria bring their infants and toddlers to a "speak and crawl group" (Sprachurabbel Gruppe) organized by the Arbeitskreis Asyl Kaufbeuren, a volunteer organization set up in 1989 to help refugees arriving in the town 

 Syrian refugees Yousef Alanezi and Bashar Aldakhiel, pictured here with a customer, opened Kaufbeuren's first halal market in spring 2018

Syrian refugees Yousef Alanezi and Bashar Aldakhiel, pictured here with a customer, opened Kaufbeuren's first halal market in spring 2018

 Kaufbeuren resident Jürgen Konrad, who is very active with the refugee community, said he was “proud and happy” that when he visited the United States in 2015, “for the first time people didn’t ask about Adolf Hitler but said, ‘oh wow, it’s great what you’re doing’”

Kaufbeuren resident Jürgen Konrad, who is very active with the refugee community, said he was “proud and happy” that when he visited the United States in 2015, “for the first time people didn’t ask about Adolf Hitler but said, ‘oh wow, it’s great what you’re doing’”

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 Günter Kamleiter, spokesman and co-founder of  Arbeitskreis Asyl Kaufbeuren , a volunteer network for refugees 

Günter Kamleiter, spokesman and co-founder of Arbeitskreis Asyl Kaufbeuren, a volunteer network for refugees 

 Sawsan and Janbadan Suleiman-Ibrahim and their two young daughters, refugees from Kobane, Syria, rent rooms in the home of Kaufbeuren residents Klaus and Susan Silberberger 

Sawsan and Janbadan Suleiman-Ibrahim and their two young daughters, refugees from Kobane, Syria, rent rooms in the home of Kaufbeuren residents Klaus and Susan Silberberger 

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 Children play soccer outside of a dedicated refugee housing apartment building in Kaufbeuren 

Children play soccer outside of a dedicated refugee housing apartment building in Kaufbeuren 

 Wafaa Farok, who came from the besieged al-Qadam district of Damascus with her handicapped husband and their two toddlers, is living in dedicated refugee housing in Kaufbeuren and struggling to find permanent housing because of prejudices against renting to refugees

Wafaa Farok, who came from the besieged al-Qadam district of Damascus with her handicapped husband and their two toddlers, is living in dedicated refugee housing in Kaufbeuren and struggling to find permanent housing because of prejudices against renting to refugees

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 Refugee students from Eritrea and Syria in an "integration class" at the vocational school in Kaufbeuren 

Refugee students from Eritrea and Syria in an "integration class" at the vocational school in Kaufbeuren 

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 Kaufbeuren vocational school administration official Markus Schiele, pictured here with refugee students from Syria, said many "are in a state of insecurity and that is of course very strenuous, very hard for them, and also then hinders the learning process... If you don’t know whether you will be here next week, why should you learn German?”

Kaufbeuren vocational school administration official Markus Schiele, pictured here with refugee students from Syria, said many "are in a state of insecurity and that is of course very strenuous, very hard for them, and also then hinders the learning process... If you don’t know whether you will be here next week, why should you learn German?”

 Ibrahimi Ramin, who fled Afghanistan in 2015, said that the German government is wrong to say that Afghani refugees don't face the same threats as Syrians in their homeland

Ibrahimi Ramin, who fled Afghanistan in 2015, said that the German government is wrong to say that Afghani refugees don't face the same threats as Syrians in their homeland

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 Headmaster Uwe Tutschku of Würzburg's Franz Oberthür Vocational School says he thinks training refugees to enter the German workforce is a "good investment... it’s better doing that than doing nothing, and then we would have many, many people living here without integration and no job opportunities at all"

Headmaster Uwe Tutschku of Würzburg's Franz Oberthür Vocational School says he thinks training refugees to enter the German workforce is a "good investment... it’s better doing that than doing nothing, and then we would have many, many people living here without integration and no job opportunities at all"

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 Kosai Alsaleh (left), a second-year integration class student from Raqqa, Syria, at the Franz Oberthür Vocational School in Würzburg, works on a soldering project in a metalworking course with a colleague from Afghanistan  

Kosai Alsaleh (left), a second-year integration class student from Raqqa, Syria, at the Franz Oberthür Vocational School in Würzburg, works on a soldering project in a metalworking course with a colleague from Afghanistan  

 Alexander, a native of Greece working in Berlin's booming tech industry, is a volunteer teacher at ReDI School of Digital Integration, a nonprofit organization that teaches coding to tech-interested refugees and other newcomers to Germany 

Alexander, a native of Greece working in Berlin's booming tech industry, is a volunteer teacher at ReDI School of Digital Integration, a nonprofit organization that teaches coding to tech-interested refugees and other newcomers to Germany