Last Wednesday, Thuringia’s State Premier Bodo Ramelow visited the BPG printing company GGP Media in Pößneck to see for himself the special relief campaign for Ukrainian refugees that the GGP staff had organized in cooperation with associations and authorities from Pößneck. “I am pleased that you did something in this situation that no one expected of you,” said the head of state, praising the high level of commitment of everyone involved. “What you are doing here is a truly impressive relief effort,” he concluded at the end of his two-hour visit.
When the first wave of refugees crossed the border into Poland shortly after the beginning of the war in Ukraine triggered by Russia, this in turn triggered a great wave of willingness to help not only in Poland, but in many EU countries. Donation accounts were set up, in-kind donations collected, and relief supplies of all kinds were quickly and unbureaucratically sent on their way. A special aid project was set up in March in Pößneck, Thuringia, where the management and employees of BPG subsidiary GGP Media teamed up with local authorities and associations to quickly organize a comprehensive rescue and care operation to bring people who had fled Ukraine to safety.
After just a few days of preparation, a relief team that included several GGP staff members and an interpreter, left on March 8 for Przemysl, a city in the Polish-Ukrainian border region, in a specially chartered tour bus. On the way there, the bus was fully loaded with provisions, blankets and toiletries – all donated by GGP staff and local retailers – and on the way back it carried 45 refugees: 18 children and teens, 26 women, and a 74-year-old man. After a 14-hour journey, they arrived in Pößneck, where they were allocated to various accommodations, provided with all the necessities, and have since been comprehensively cared for by volunteer helpers.
Last Wednesday, Minister President Bodo Ramelow visited GGP to learn more about this special collaboration between companies, associations, and authorities. He visited for two hours, and spoke with representatives of the company, the town, the Volkssolidarität Pößneck, the Kolping family and District Administrator Thomas Fügmann, who was also present. “It’s really impressive how things were done here in Pößneck, quite a few others can take a leaf out of their book,” the state premier said to the group of fifteen. He said that when he asks companies to contribute to Ukraine refugee aid, most of them offer a monetary donation. Pößneck was different. Here, companies and associations joined forces “in a form and to an extent that is unique,” the Minister President emphasized.
During the appointment, GGP Media Managing Director Sven Isecke emphasized that it is now particularly important to gradually integrate the people displaced by the war into the local community, for example through internships or employment at local companies. “We hope to be able to inspire some of them to stay here and work at GGP,” Isecke said, adding, “Pößneck clearly isn’t Berlin, but it’s a good place to live, too.”
Following his conversation with the volunteers, Ramelow took the opportunity to take a short tour of the plant to find out about GGP’s economic situation and the current situation on the book printing market. On his guided tour of the production halls, he showed great interest in climate-neutral production and digital printing. But minimum wage issues and the shortage of skilled workers were also topics of his discussion with GGP Managing Director Isecke.