Potsdam – The orangery of the biosphere, intended for larger events or festivals, no longer has to be used as emergency accommodation for refugees from the Ukrainian war zone. Social department head Brigitte Meier (SPD) and the Head of the tropical hall, Sebastian Leifgen, informed on Thursday at an on-site appointment. Now, for example, the orangery can be used again for company celebrations, said Leifgen.

The orangery was at the beginning of March, which five years ago had already served as a mosque replacement for months, was converted into emergency accommodation with 150 places within a few days – in the period after the start of the Russian war of aggression, when hundreds of Ukrainians arrived in Potsdam every day and initially in hotels had been distributed. “Those were very demanding days, many fates affected us,” Leifgen described his impressions.

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For example, his employees and dozens of volunteers were repeatedly shown videos of the situation in the war zone. It was emotionally demanding for everyone, but everyone helped out of conviction, said Meier and Leifgen, thanking them for their commitment, “even well beyond their own closing time.” At the same time, Leifgen announced that he wanted to continue to work for the integration of the refugees – for example, the “Tropencamp” café in the hall at the Volkspark is to be run exclusively by refugees, who will also receive German lessons at the same time.

Around 3000 people from the Ukraine found shelter in Potsdam

Interested parties can contact the interpreter Oleksandra Krykova, who is already employed, at [email protected] Report. In the gastro area, the biosphere is currently lacking specialists, said Leifgen – also with a view to the restaurant and the necessary event catering in the house. Regarding the general situation, Meier said that the influx of refugees had been at a low level for weeks. As reported, the city assumes that almost 3,000 Ukrainians have found accommodation in Potsdam, 2,200 in private accommodation.

225 people are currently living in existing asylum accommodation, and a further 170 people are housed in the Metropolishalle. The city has found apartments or residential groups for more than 180 other Ukrainians. As reported, a construction program is also planned by the municipal holding company Pro Potsdam, with which around 400 apartments are to be built in series-produced standard buildings from next year – including in Golm and Am Stern.