Gudrun Flieger tucks into a steaming bowl of bean stew at a soup kitchen in the well-to-do Berlin district of Charlottenburg. The 63-year-old pensioner has been a regular guest at the church-run meeting point since losing her job as a fitter at an electrical factory which went bankrupt in the late 1990s.
"Without the soup kitchen and state help I'd be lost," she says.
At a pawn shop on Karl Marx Strasse, in Neukölln, one of Berlin's poorest districts where one in four people are unemployed and half of all children live in poverty, an elderly woman in her 70s, dressed in a fur coat, hopes to pawn a family heirloom – a gold watch – to help cover a heating bill.
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