The federal government had actually announced that it would remain tough.
Apart from the up to 150 unaccompanied minors, Germany should not accept any other people from the Greek islands.
There will be no going it alone this time, unlike in 2015 nobody should believe that Germany is the only safe refuge in Europe.
That is how Angela Merkel saw it, and so did her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
The two stayed for a week.
Then they gave in.
Since the beginning of this week it has been clear that more people should be brought to Germany after all.
No longer just young people traveling alone, but also families with children.
Merkel, Seehofer and the SPD have now agreed on this.
1553 people are now being brought to Germany from several Greek islands.
If a European agreement on the emergency department is reached, others could follow.
But why is the government changing course at all?
The interior ministry said that the pressure had increased.
The pictures of the homeless families on Lesbos.
The federal states that offered to take in more people than the government allowed after the fire.
The inaction of the EU partners in the face of the disaster.
All of that was too much for Merkel and Seehofer, at the beginning of the week they rejected the tough course they had announced.
The Union faction in the Bundestag observes the swing critically.
There is consensus there that Germany has already shown great humanity by accepting 1.73 million asylum seekers since 2015, and hardly anyone wants a leading role in accepting more people.
Group Vice Thorsten Frei says: "If several thousand people were accepted indiscriminately, a signal can quickly go out to the world: The way to Germany is free. We would not make the situation in Greece better, but worse. Moria would be a second and third Moria to follow. "
For the Union, the solution to the problem does not lie in Berlin, but in Brussels.
So far, Seehofer's people have argued that Germany must remain tough in order to persuade those countries that have so far blocked themselves to concessions in the negotiations on a European migration policy: Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic;
the Eastern Europeans, as always.
If it were up to them, if no reforms were needed, the EU could persist in its apathy.
It is the federal government that has been exerting gentle pressure for months under the German EU Council Presidency.
By giving in, Merkel and Seehofer may have laid down a crucial strategic tool: The blockade countries should now be sure that the federal government will continue to buckle under pressure in the future.
And therefore continue not to participate in the emergency room.
By providing emergency humanitarian aid, the German government unwittingly grants political absolution to its opponents.
In the coming week, EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen wants to present her draft for a new European refugee policy.
Merkel and Seehofer had already phoned von der Leyen at the beginning of the year and criticized their plans as poor.
Berlin asked Brussels to make improvements.
Although no details are known so far, the key points do not sound new: The border protection agency Frontex is supposed to secure the EU's external borders, and countries of origin are supposed to take back those who are not entitled to asylum.
In a third step, recognized refugees are to be distributed among the EU countries.
It's a concept that has been around for years.
But it was never realized.
And this time too, the chances are bad: In the negotiations on the Corona rescue package, the EU cut the Frontex budget by a good 40 percent;
what remains is an EU border protection light.
There is also still a lack of a strategy with which the Eastern Europeans could be dissuaded from their concrete course.
Seehofer wants to travel to the particularly stubborn heads of state as soon as the commission has published its proposal.
But he just doesn't fly with compelling arguments in his luggage.