German nudists outraged at new rules ordering them to wear swimwear as refugee shelter arrives on lake

Officials said the rules were for generic public swimming pools and had been applied by mistake

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 22 June 2016 16:22 BST
Nude swimming is popular in Germany, where there are hundreds of FKK clubs
Nude swimming is popular in Germany, where there are hundreds of FKK clubs (AFP/Getty Images)

A group of German nudists are up in arms after being ordered to cover up in preparation for the arrival of a new refugee shelter bordering the lake where they swim.

Members of the Familiensport und FKK Bund Waldteichfreunde Moritzburg club have been swimming naked at a secluded campsite north of Dresden for more than 100 years but have now been told to wear bathing suits.

Accommodation to house 112 asylum seekers is being built on the opposite shore of the lake, where notices have been sent with rules written in German, Albanian, Arabic and Farsi.

Number nine specifies that “usage of the pool is only permitted for people wearing swimwear”.

The ban is an affront to the club’s 400 members and followers of Germany’s Freikörperkultur (free body culture) or FKK movement, which embraces sport, naturism and communal living.

Petra Hoffmann, the treasurer, told the Bild newspaper, that naturists had used the site since 1905 and would not be stopping.

“We refuse to display these rules,” she said. “On our site we decide what goes.”

Earlier this month, she said some naturists felt vulnerable after reading reports of sexual harassment by migrants at swimming pools in Germany.

The club was officially founded in 1910 when land was leased by to the pond for people to bathe nude or partially clothed, before it expanded in the 20s with larger grounds, shelters and sports facilities.

The German Swimming Society said the row was the result of a mix-up where the local council sent out a standard set of rules intended for public swimming pools, the Telegraph reported.

Meanwhile, Meissen Council is continuing its plans for the refugee shelter, saying it is needed to house those arriving in the county.

Officials said a privacy screen may be constructed to shield the lake from view and that new arrivals would be taught about FKK culture, Junge Freiheit reported.

Germany welcomed more than a million refugees and asylum seekers last year and continues to be one of the largest destinations for those continuing to arrive in Europe.

But as attitudes have hardened following the Cologne New Year’s Eve attacks and other reported assaults, support has risen for populist parties and far-right groups including the anti-Islam Pegida movement.

Reports of sexual harassment and attacks by asylum seekers at swimming pools have generated controversy across Europe, sparking a ban on male migrants at one pool in Germany and “vigilante” patrols in Sweden.

Police statistics in Germany showed that sex offences make up a tiny proportion of crimes committed by refugees and migrants in the country, which are mostly related to transport and documents.

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