Anniversaries are opportunities for reflection and re-evaluation. In recent weeks, news media around the world have commemorated and reassessed the events of late August and early September 2015 that led to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers, and their initially enthusiastic reception, in Germany.

In Germany itself, the anniversary dominated newspapers and magazines and featured prominently on talk shows and current affairs programs on television and radio – to the extent that Germany’s invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, an event whose anniversary usually prompts intense public reflection, was barely mentioned. But which was the pivotal event that deserved to be singled out? Which date in particular marked Germany’s extraordinary response to the refugee crisis?

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