For most of us, the image of a serial number on a forearm conjures up indelible images of 1940s Germany, but it seems this is not the case for the Czech police, who adopted the controversial practice earlier this week.
As the immigration debate intensifies throughout Europe, police in the Southern Czech region of Moravia resorted to the method in an attempt to stem the tide of people fleeing war by heading to the E.U.
According to The Independent, during the early hours of Tuesday morning, over 200 people were arrested as their trains arrived from Austria and Hungary. The refugees were removed from the trains heading to Germany, detained, and flagged with identification numbers written on their arms with marker pens. Photographs in the Czech media showed police officers writing registration numbers on the arms of women and children among chaotic scenes of razor wire and makeshift camps.
“What never stops amazing me are people who look at the Holocaust and think that it only holds lessons for Germans & Jews,” European Media Director of Human Rights Watch Andrew Stroehlein said on Twitter.
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) September 2, 2015
Seemingly oblivious to the shocking inhumanity of the measures, whoever had the idea to introduce the unbelievable techniques thankfully decided to use marker pen and not needles to punch serial numbers into the skin. Governor of Southern Moravia Michael Hasek told local media the authorities “…were preparing for what would occur if the migrants increased.”
According to Czech media, after arrest, refugees are placed in secure institutions and believe it or not, are then required to pay for the privilege. Following a backlash of international criticism, the Czech Republic has since announced that it no longer plans to detain Syrian refugees trying to reach Germany, making it the latest country to abandon European asylum rules in the face of the global crisis.
In keeping with the 1940s theme, distressing scenes erupted in Hungary on Thursday as desperate refugees climbed aboard what they assumed was the first western Europe-bound train for days. Assuming the train was taking them to the Austrian border, panic among the refugees broke out when it stopped at the Hungarian town of Bicske instead.
As the train pulled into the town, which hosts a major refugee camp, the platforms were lined with waiting police in riot gear. After reaching yet another dead end in their journey, families refused to leave the train they had boarded in search of freedom — that in fact was taking them to a detention camp. One desperate refugee threw himself and his family onto the train tracks in an attempt to prevent being hauled off to a camp.