Several hundred refugees and German volunteers were treated to a special concert in Berlin on Tuesday night (March 1) when renowned conductors Daniel Barenboim and Sir Simon Rattle performed at the city's philharmonic hall.
The evening, entitled "welcome among us" was intended to "make a small contribution towards solidarity and a feeling of welcome," according to the foundation's artistic director, Martin Hoffmann.
Israeli pianist, conductor and current music director at the Staatskapelle Berlin, said "music is not just a matter of entertainment but it has a mental purpose. I would like for all refugees visiting the concert to not only open their ears but also their souls."
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor at Berlin philharmonics, said in the same video news release "we should not be living in a world where many millions of people are being displaced from their countries and have sometimes no possibility of where to go."
"I have to say how proud I am and how proud we all are of being in a country which has really done something to help in this terribly difficult situation," Rattle said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly defended her open-door policy for migrants, rejecting any limit on the number of refugees allowed into her country despite divisions within her government.
Concertgoers expressed admiration for the orchestra and gratitude towards Germany.
"I would like to thank everyone who organized this concert which made it possible for Syrians, Afghans and many others to watch this performance," said a young Syrian man who gave his name as Amer.
Raman Khalaf, another young Syrian who arrived in Germany three years ago and was since granted asylum, said "this is really the biggest symbol (of support) in Germany."
"From the very beginning, Germans and Austrians opened their borders for us. People took to the streets in our support and today, the musicians have invited us. The fact that they are playing for us is truly indescribable, thank you."
Germany attracted 1.1 million asylum seekers last year, leading to calls from across the political spectrum for a change in its handling of refugees coming to Europe to escape war and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
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