Refugees' long, dangerous journey climaxes in Germany

Flood of migrants arrive in Germany after grueling trek
Flood of migrants arrive in Germany after grueling trek

    JUST WATCHED

    Flood of migrants arrive in Germany after grueling trek

MUST WATCH

Flood of migrants arrive in Germany after grueling trek 01:59

Story highlights

  • Hundreds of refugees and migrants arrive in Munich, Germany
  • Police, officials and volunteers greet, feed and help them at the train station
  • Europe is facing its largest migrant crisis since World War II

Munich, Germany (CNN)A man walks by and wipes a tear away from each eye.

Who knows what's he been through or how many miles he is from home. He is a stranger in a new land, taking his first steps of a new life.
Hundreds of migrants and refugees -- like this man -- this week filled a train station here in Munich, hoping that this stop could be one of their last ones on their grueling journey from lives of war, violence, poverty and oppression.
    Who are all these refugees?
    migrants europe crisis refugees org_00014709

      JUST WATCHED

      Who are all these refugees?

    MUST WATCH

    Who are all these refugees? 01:49
    CNN has been following thousands who arrived by boat in Greece, traveled on to Macedonia and Serbia, then moved on to Hungary. The southeastern German city of Munich was their latest stop, landing them in the heart of Europe and in a country with one of the world's strongest economies.
    They are among thousands who have made such a voyage (and hundreds more who died along the way), producing Europe's largest migrant crisis since World War II. This rush of people has challenged countries throughout Europe, including more prosperous ones that are prime destinations for those in search of a better life.
    A woman filled with emotion cries at the Munich train station after fleeing Syria.

    Afghan woman: 'We are very happy'

    Germany is a top choice, given its economic opportunity and inclusion in the EU.
    While migrants are supposed to apply for asylum in the first EU country they land in, Germany appears to have relaxed its policy. These changes include letting some migrants apply for asylum even without documentation.
    This policy has given people hope.
    Many spent the last of their money just to get to get here. Others have put their lands in the hands of smugglers or Mother Nature or the perils of such an arduous trip, just to have a chance.
     A man from Syria holds one of his children after arriving at the Munich railway station.
    "We are very happy that we are here right now," one young woman from Afghanistan told CNN. "(The journey) was very hard for us. It took us more than a month. And in Hungary, my mother got very sick, and she was in the hospital."
    A Pakistani man looking forward to a "bright future" in Germany says it's been worth it.
    "I am really very happy," he said.

    Police, volunteers, officials warmly greet migrants

    Almost every new train arriving in Munich brings another batch of people seeking a better life. They are greeted warmly by officials, by a "Welcome" banner overhead and police who hand out water and food and direct them to the station's parking lot.
    This parking lot now features a state-of-the-art processing center, run by officials and volunteers.
    "We have been out here since 7 last night," said volunteer Hajo Tille. "There really have been some very emotional scenes that we have witnessed."
    'Merkel! Merkel!': Migrants beg for help from Germany
    'Merkel! Merkel!': Migrants beg for help from Germany

      JUST WATCHED

      'Merkel! Merkel!': Migrants beg for help from Germany

    MUST WATCH

    'Merkel! Merkel!': Migrants beg for help from Germany 02:19
    The new arrivals get medical checks and then are escorted onto buses and taken to temporary accommodation. The authorities are clearly doing their best to prevent some of the chaos that these people endured in other places and taking them to shelters as fast as possible.
    "The police here ... have been facing a big challenge for months now. We have been bringing in reinforcements for weeks" Munich police spokesman Matthias Knott said. "The situation will remain a big challenge, but we will solve it somehow."
    Not everyone will make it here. But for those who do get to Munich, they have the benefit of knowing, right away, that they won't be doing it alone.