Deutsche Welle berates RT over report on refugees in former Nazi camp?

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Satellite dishes are pictured atop of the German broadcasting company "Deutsche Welle" (DW) office in Berlin. © Tobias Schwarz
Numerous international media outlets have recently inaccurately reported refugees are being housed in a former Nazi camp in Germany. Yet, while bashing the journalistic community, Deutsche Welle (DW) focused particularly on RT and the Sputnik news agency.

The initial article on the issue published by the Australian was picked up by the Daily Mail on September 11 and then cited by various international media, which included the UK’s Mirror and Express, Israeli Haaretz and i24, the UAE-based Al Arabiya and the US’ regional CBS outpost among others.

RT was among the media that cited The Daily Mail, saying 21 refugees and migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have been housed in a former concentration camp: Buchenwald in Germany.

RT updated the article on Tuesday after it was revealed the report cited had provided inaccurate information on where the asylum seekers had been housed – not specifically the former Buchenwald concentration camp, but the territory of its satellite labor camp located several hours away in Schwerte.

From April 1944 until January 1945, Schwerte-Ost concentration camp housed seven barracks managed by Buchenwald. It was one of its 137 satellite camps and contained at least 700 prisoners who worked on railroad car repairs.

Despite the update and the fact that RT was far from being the only media to cite reports, DW’s Russian-language website bashed RT’s article on Tuesday. 

The DW article ignored all other international media except for the Russian outlets, RT and the Sputnik news agency specifically.

In the process of what the author of the DW article Mikhail Bushuev called “dotting the i's and crossing the t's," he made several indiscretions himself. He mistakenly said RT belonged to the media group “Rossiya Segodnya.”

RT has sent the DW editorial office a complaint noting that its material is not accurate. DW has neither replied nor made any changes to its article.

The information regarding the housing of asylum seekers in Schwerte was brought up by German media in January when local authorities took the decision to allocate the refugees in barracks, which stood on the site of the former Nazi labor camp.

READ MORE: Make yourself at home: Germany to use former Nazi barracks to house refugees

The decision stirred controversy among local politicians, who argued whether it was a good idea or not. North Rhine-Westphalia's State Premier Hannelore Kraft referred to it as "not a good sign."

Schwerte's Mayor Heinrich Böckelühr said in January that local authorities were not ignorant of history or insensitive. "There is a lively welcoming culture here. And putting refugees up in mass shelters, containers or gymnasiums is not our understanding of successful integration," he said in a press conference.

DW reported in January that the barracks where prisoners and guards lived had long been torn down and that a historic investigation showed that all the houses on the camp's area were built in the late 1950s.