Merkel and the migrants: ZDF docudrama under fire

The ZDF docudrama "Hours of Decision: Angela Merkel and the Refugees" has met with mixed reactions both in Germany and in Hungary. The film deals with the run-up to Angela Merkel's decision on 4 September 2015 to allow the refugees who had made it into Hungary to enter Germany.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

The wrong format for such a sensitive issue

For the Süddeutsche Zeitung the authors of the docudrama chose the wrong format:

“In this format facts and authentic footage is blended with acting and artistic exaggeration. That can be done with events that lie far back in the past. In this case, however, the ZDF should have stayed away from the project. In the almost 90 minutes there are scenes and sentences about which only those who were there can say whether they actually happened. ... The result: viewers don't know if the authors come even close to depicting key discussions with the chancellor at all authentically. ... That may be fine in a comedy. But with such a sensitive issue the terrain is far too slippery.”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

Berlin and Vienna still see things differently

The pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap criticises the film, explaining its view of what really happened that autumn:

“In 2015 Hungary fulfilled its duties to the EU. While the Hungarian government went to great lengths to stem the influx of illegal immigrants, the German and Austrian governments simultaneously attacked Hungary because in their opinion we weren't being nice enough to the migrants. In the meantime, however, both Berlin and Vienna expect Budapest not to let the migrants travel beyond Hungary.”

Népszava (HU) /

Awkward questions for Orbán's government

It's not for nothing that the Hungarian government doesn't like the film, Népszava comments:

“How could thousands of refugees make their way from the border to Budapest's Baross Square unchecked? Who decided - and why - to let these people languish in the capital under inhuman conditions until Western reporters appeared on the square to tell the world that a humanitarian disaster was unfolding in Budapest? That said, of course 'only' the refugees experienced the humanitarian disaster - who for weeks on end only received help from NGOs.”