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287 Polish Tourists Stay Behind in West Germany

December 30, 1986

FLENSBURG, West Germany (AP) _ During the Christmas holidays, 287 Polish tourists from three separate cruise ships stayed in West Germany instead of returning to Poland, officials said today.

At least 15 of the Poles already have asked for political asylum and many others were expected to do so, said Wolf-Dietrich Weinert, a spokesman for West German border police in Flensburg.

But he said it was impossible to say how many of the Poles intended to stay in West Germany indefinitely and how many hoped to extend their stay only for a few days or weeks before returning home.

The cruise ships Lancut, Pomerania and Wilanow, carrying a total of more than 600 passengers, docked in Travemuende, just north of Luebeck, between Dec. 23 and 26, Weinert said.

Weinert told The Associated Press regarding Poles who stayed in West Germany: ″In the past, about half have asked for political asylum. The others may just want to stay with relatives for a while or buy a car in the West.″

He said that although the tourists have visas only for Christmas holidays, they may seek to get them extended, or simply stay without a valid visa.

Under a special exemption for East European refugees adopted by West Germany in 1966, the Poles cannot be deported no matter whether they were officially granted asylum.

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