German swimming pools are a metaphor for Germany — and for the challenge of integrating newcomers.

Germany is one big swimming pool, trying to integrate the more than a million Middle Eastern refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in the last couple of years. The most important thing, says social worker Hartmuth Kurzhals, is to make newcomers understand that in Germany, there are rules — and no exceptions.

One of Berlin's largest pools, on Columbiadamm Street, is near two refugee housing centers, which means new arrivals from places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — and longtime Berlin residents — all swim there together.

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