Vadim, a 17-year-old teenager who came on his own from Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, traveled for three days and nights before arriving in Berlin on Tuesday afternoon. “No sleep,” is all he said, a tired, petrified look in his eyes.
As they spilled out of the trains on Tuesday, loudspeakers blared in Ukrainian and English: “Dear refugees from Ukraine, welcome to Germany, please follow the instructions of the volunteers in the yellow and orange vests.”
Spread across the platforms, a small army of volunteers in bright-colored vests appeared — yellow for those who speak German, English and other languages, orange for Ukrainian and Russian speakers — ready to maneuver the exhausted masses through the maze of Berlin’s sleek and shiny glass-and-steel railway station into the building’s basement.
The operation runs so smoothly that the seemingly endless stream of refugees goes largely unnoticed to the city’s tens of thousands of regular commuters making their way through the station’s five levels. Most don’t even know of the sprawling refugee town that has sprung up in the station basement.
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