High quality of life, cheap housing and, above all, the small German town of Korlitz, close to Poland, wants to benefit from Britain leaving the EU. It is now believed that Brexit could lead to a new situation for EU citizens in the UK, mainly to move to the city of Corlitz to attract poles.
The spring sun warms up very nicely as we pass the colorful and newly renovated houses on Consulstrass Street in the center of Corlitz.
Here you can also find the small neat Hotel Alt Corlitz where I meet Anna Druze, who emigrated to Germany with her husband and two children last fall.
– We have lived in the UK for over 13 years, but this time I missed my family in Poland. Drew says these have been very difficult years.
– It got even harder when my husband lost his job last year. It was hard for him to find a new job, and once he did, the salary was worse than before.
After a short vacation in Corlitz in August last year, the family decided to move on.
Corlitz is a sleepless little town near the Polish border.
A foot bridge across the Nice River connects Corlitz with Poland
Photo: Johnny Sjablom / Yle
Anna Druze and her husband were originally from the Polish city of Lபban, 30 miles east of the Polish-German border[30 கி.மீ]Located in the distance. Nevertheless their choice of gold on the German side was mainly for practical reasons.
– My sister and her husband live here in Corlitz and now I work at the hotel they run. By starting right here, there is no need to restart from scratch.
Labor is required
Corlitz is a small town with a population of about 55,000, which extends west of the border river Nice. On a foot bridge you reach the Polish Zkorzelek, which until 1945 was the eastern part of the German city.
The Korlitz survived without major war damage, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Germany today.
The city has served as a shooting location for a number of films, including the Inglourious Basterds and the Grand Budapest Hotel, which were filmed in the city’s old department stores.
Quentin Tarantino’s film was filmed at the Inglourious Basterds Corlitz. The film stars Eli Roth and Brad Pitt.
Close up Tony Donovitz (Eli Roth) and Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) looking straight at the camera.
Built in: Photo 12 / Alumni / All Over Press
At the same time, today’s Korlitz, like many cities in East Germany, is still in trouble.
– We have a big statistical problem. Andrea Behr, head of the city’s development organization, says that significantly more people are dying than they were born, which is why we are happy to have new people.
– For example, we need trained personnel in many areas, and then we came up with the idea that in the UK the Poles might be happy to move closer to their home area and their families, Behr continues.
In addition to working in healthcare, there are also employers at Corlitz, such as Sirmens and shoe manufacturer Birkenstock.
Several hundred Polish immigrants
When you go to Corlitz, you quickly notice that there is room for significantly more people and that the lack of apartments or expensive housing will not be an issue.
Since the German reunification, the city’s population has dwindled to less than 15,000 and vacant housing is densely populated.
However, from the city side, houses and apartments are now not expected to be filled quickly by Polish immigrants.
– Projects like this need time. Behr says moving to another country suddenly is not an easy decision even if one encounters a border in one’s own country.
The small town campaign has gained significantly more visibility than initially expected.
So they want to take advantage of that opportunity, while at the same time now marketing the city to immigrants other than the Poles.
According to Andrea Behr, the definitive results are a bit difficult to comment on so far. All the information needed for an action is available online, so interested parties have no contact with the development company.
– Anyway, we know that last year 400 poles went to Corlitz. This is more than the previous five years, so there are definitely some newcomers from the UK, Behr says.
More along the way
Poland is already very visible in the street scene. The traffic across the border is bustling, spoken in Polish cities and shops, for example, often with signs in German and Polish.
– Anna Druze says living in Corlitz is almost like living in Poland.
He also believes that Polish immigrants come from the UK.
– We also have friends who are thinking about whether to go back to Poland or later to Germany. But making a decision is not so easy, especially considering the corona.
– Of course, it takes a certain amount of courage to leave the country where you have lived for 15 to 20 years.
For the Polish family, the new everyday life in Corlitz is also represented by the corona. The hotel has almost no guests and there is constant concern about two children going to school. They both go to school in Poland, and if the border closes again at some point it will be a problem.
The previous life of the city of Sheffield was not entirely retreated.
– I miss my friends, my house, the house we sold. So yes, I could have missed more, says Anna Druze.