What Happens When You Meet Refugees on a Train? Greatness.

What Happens When You Meet Refugees on a Train? Greatness.

Below you find the description of an accidental run-in with refugees that I had recently and the text I wrote about it on a personal account. It genuinely was a feat of luck that I ran into those people, the joy and welcome I received from them wonderful and humbling and I hope to meet them again, some day, somewhere. – M.B.


On my way north today, I met Farhad, a former English teacher from Syria who is leading a group of 20-30 friends and family from Iran, Iraq and Syria through Turkey, the Balkans and Germany to their eventual destination of Sweden (he says his wife makes him go there, personally he would prefer to stay in Germany).

Never have I been more quickly adopted into a wonderful group of people of all ages and a language I dont understand in the least, never have I been more impressed by the kindness of such complete strangers and never has my head rung more loudly than from Farhads attempt to teach me Arabic between Magdeburg and Hamburg (4 pages of vocabulary are probably the highpoint of my Arabic skills). Also he had the habit of introducing me with “Hello, this is my ticket and this is my friend Moritz, he’s handicapped!” everytime our tickets got checked and my disability ID was used.

When we finally arrived in Hamburg and said our farewells, that were so much harder than they should have been, Farhad and his group were greeted by a local welcoming group that would take care of them and see to it that they will safely make the remainder of their journey and that all that was left for me was to stay back and wave to this wonderful and welcoming group that I got to be part of for just a blink of an eye.

This is a picture of Farhad, his youngest son and myself. With all the weird storys and dramas out there about refugees and the ‘refugee crisis’, I just wanted to share this chance encounter that was anything but dramatic, but genuinely sweet and lovely – and one that I will not soon forget.

Moritz Borchardt is a Director of GPPW.

Cover image: Franz Ferdinand Photography under a CC BY-NC 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license