Two German women were asked to vacate their homes to make way for Syrian refugees.
Gabrielle Keller, 56, from Eschbach in southwest Germany, received the message in a letter from the local municipality, Telegraph.co.uk reported. The letter informed her that she would have to vacate her apartment by the end of the year to make way for a new refugee center.
Keller’s apartment, along with one other in the town of 2,400, is owned by the local municipality.
“The council hasn’t taken a frivolous decision,” Mario Schlafke, Eschbach’s mayor, told the German newspaper Welt, according to Telegraph.co.uk. “The alternative would have been to set up beds in the gym.”
Refugees are currently being temporarily accommodated in a shipping container on a local sports field and at a youth center.
“I think it’s a scandal to throw tenants out of their apartments,” Keller, who has lived there for 23 years, told the German television station SWR. “I can’t see the sense of it.”
Keller has denied the municipality’s claim that it offered to help her find a new home. She has hired a lawyer and intends to challenge her eviction.
Bettina Halbey, a 51-year-old nurse from the town of Nieheim in Germany, received a similar letter, RT reported.
“I was completely shocked and I can’t even begin to find the words to describe how the city has treated me,” said Halbey told the German newspaper Die Welt, according to RT. “I have had to go through a lot of difficulties recently, and then I get this notice. It was like a kick in the teeth.”
Halbey has until May 2016 to find a new home.
Authorities estimate that up to 800,000 refugees could arrive in Germany this year, Daily Mail reports.
Copies of the German constitution, or Basic Law, have been printed in Arabic to help asylum seekers understand the law.
“I am convinced that the first 20 articles of our constitution are what shape our culture,” said Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, according to Daily Mail.
“People who come here must not only learn the German language, but also learn the rules of the game of living together,” he added.
Gabriel noted that refugees had to recognize principles such as the separation of church and state, equal rights for men and women, and the right to be homosexual.
“No one is forced, when he comes to Germany, to change his religion, to alter his private life. But what is important for our culture is that the principles of our democratic society apply to everyone,” Gabriel said.