A list of heart­break: News­pa­per tal­lies 33,293 dead mi­grants


BER­LIN — A Ger­man news­pa­per has pub­lished a list of 33,293 peo­ple it says died while try­ing to im­mi­grate to Eu­rope be­tween 1993 and May of this year.

The list, pub­lished by daily Der Tagesspiegel Thurs­day, cov­ered 46 pages and in­cluded names, ages and coun­tries of ori­gin, when avail­able, as well as how the vic­tims died and their date of death. Of­ten, though, they never were iden­ti­fied.

One en­try said Iraqi mi­grant Talat Ab­dul­hamid, 36, froze to death on Jan. 6 af­ter walk­ing for 48 hours through the moun­tains on the Turk­ish-Bul­gar­ian bor­der.

An­other, cit­ing the United Na­tions refugee agency, was for a 15-year-old boy who drowned on Nov. 15, 2016 when a rub­ber dinghy he was on with 23 oth­ers sank while try­ing to get from Libya to Eu­rope.

The news­pa­per said it wanted to doc­u­ment, “the asy­lum-seek­ers, refugees and mi­grants who died since 1993 as a con­se­quence of the re­stric­tive poli­cies of Eu­rope on the con­ti­nent’s outer borders or in­side Eu­rope.”

Some of the im­mi­grants who suc­ceeded in reach­ing Eu­rope later died in vi­o­lent at­tacks or killed them­selves in cus­tody while wait­ing to be de­ported back to their home coun­tries.

A 17-year-old So­mali boy died when neo-Nazis in the eastern Ger­man town of Sch­moellnhe forced him to jump off a tower on Oct 21, 2016. A 30-year-old man from Uganda com­mit­ted sui­cide in an im­mi­grant de­ten­tion cen­tre on the coast of south­ern Eng­land.

“We want to hon­our them” Der Tagesspiegel wrote. “And at the same time we want to show that ev­ery line tells a story … and that the list keeps get­ting longer, day by day.”

The vast ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple on the news­pa­per’s list drowned on the Mediter­ranean Sea while try­ing to make their way to Eu­rope.

The most re­cent list­ings were for two uniden­ti­fied peo­ple, one of them a child, and dated May 29, 2017. The en­try says: “Two bod­ies found, 28 miss­ing, drowned or stamped down in a panic when their boat sank off Libya.”

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