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92

In Germany, Saigon Wins The Vietnamese in Berlin

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Vietnamese migrant workers being exploited by East Germany who now find themselves to be unwanted refugees in West Germany

Schneider, P. (None). In Germany, Saigon Wins The Vietnamese in Berlin. In Schneider, P. The German Comedy: Scenes of Life After the Wall. , pp. 92-108

94

[...] In 1980, East Germany had signed an accord with the People's Republic of Vietnam which allowed skilled Vietnamese laborers entry and limited residence for purposes of labor. Under the terms of this agreement, thousands of Vietnamese came every year; by 1989, about 60,000 were employed in East German enterprises. That made the Vietnamese by far the largest single contingent of foreigners in a country not exactly overrun with outsiders--they accounted for well over a third of the 160,000 resident aliens. The accords prescribed a four-to-five-year commitment; after two years, the guests were entitled to a three-month home leave. Other than wages, the Vietnamese profited little by their residence in East Germany, for they were denied even the most basic civil rights. Their embassy took away their passports as soon as they arrived. They were housed in buildings resembing barracks where groups of seven were obliged to share "three-room apartments," completely isolated from the native population. [...]

In addition to rent and taxes, another reduction--"for the reconstruction of Vietnam"--automatically cut the salary of every Vietnamese worker by 12 percent. Rumor had it, though, that this money really went to pay off the Vietnamese Republic's debt to East Germany. Phrases like "loan worker" and "slave laborer" were on everyone's lips.

—p.94 by Peter Schneider 3 years, 1 month ago

[...] In 1980, East Germany had signed an accord with the People's Republic of Vietnam which allowed skilled Vietnamese laborers entry and limited residence for purposes of labor. Under the terms of this agreement, thousands of Vietnamese came every year; by 1989, about 60,000 were employed in East German enterprises. That made the Vietnamese by far the largest single contingent of foreigners in a country not exactly overrun with outsiders--they accounted for well over a third of the 160,000 resident aliens. The accords prescribed a four-to-five-year commitment; after two years, the guests were entitled to a three-month home leave. Other than wages, the Vietnamese profited little by their residence in East Germany, for they were denied even the most basic civil rights. Their embassy took away their passports as soon as they arrived. They were housed in buildings resembing barracks where groups of seven were obliged to share "three-room apartments," completely isolated from the native population. [...]

In addition to rent and taxes, another reduction--"for the reconstruction of Vietnam"--automatically cut the salary of every Vietnamese worker by 12 percent. Rumor had it, though, that this money really went to pay off the Vietnamese Republic's debt to East Germany. Phrases like "loan worker" and "slave laborer" were on everyone's lips.

—p.94 by Peter Schneider 3 years, 1 month ago