Skip to content

Racism in Germany

Newsweek asks "Why can't Germans talk honestly about the hate in the east?"
Violent right-wing hate crimes were up 25 percent in 2005—from 832 the year before, to 1,034—and continued to be a particular scourge of the east. Rural Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, surrounding Berlin, showed a per capita rate of xenophobic attacks 10 times as high as a western state like Hessia. Adjusting for the far lower number of immigrants in the east, a foreign-looking person is about 25 times as likely to get assaulted in the east as in the west, says University of Hanover criminologist Christian Pfeiffer.
Newsweek opines:
Strangely, Germany's debate over racism seems to be less about racism than about what one is (and isn't) allowed to say about it. (...) Instead of confronting this extremist upsurge head-on, west Germans are largely ducking the issue. An intellectually lazy materialism dominates the debate. If the east weren't so economically depressed, the argument goes, crime and racism would disappear. (...)
To be sure, Germany's crime rate remains one of the lowest in the world, the number of reported hate crimes is small, and major cities where the World Cup will be held are safe.


Atlantic Review on : Brain Drain: German YouTube Founder Enjoys the American Dream

Show preview
Observing Hermann writes about the third YouTube founder, Jawed Karim, who was born in East Germany in 1979:Ironically, Karim's family (his father was originally from Bangladesh) left Germany in 1992 after the infamous post-Wall racist incidents in Hoyers


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Zyme on :

"If the east weren't so economically depressed, the argument goes, crime and racism would disappear." Well it simply is the reason! When a region becomes desperate in economical issues and more than 20 % are unemployed, this hurts the people. Nowhere else work is as important for the self image of people than in germany, so unemployment strikes them very hard. You can notice that in those regions in west germany, where economy isnt well either, the fascists also have a stronger base than in the rest of west germany. (The same applies to the communists) And its easy to understand: The more unemployed people are around, the more start asking questions about what all those foreigners are doing here. And from that point, its only a small step for undisciplined criminal people to start attacking them. Just think of the calming effect the social state creates in this matter. If those unemployed would not be cared for as much as they are today, many more might go hunt those foreigners who have a job or have to be cared for by the state too.

Anonymous on :

There are hardly any foreigners in the East. Unemployment is a main reason, but it is not the only one. There is less racism in the United States, even in those regions with high unemployment. And having a job is important for Americans too. Racism in East Germany is also a cultural thing.

Anonymous on :

I agree. Without the German welfare state there would be even more racism. Racism is caused by envy and a culture that emphasizes the larger community rather than the individuum. Pretty much the same reason why there is so much hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism in the Arab world. Okay, yes, there is a lot of racism in the US, but there is not so much racism among the unemployed. Unemployment plays less of role for racism in the US than in Germany, because Americans are more individualistic.

Zyme on :

So it will depend on the economic development. As long as the improvement continues the situation will remain calm. And if the employment wont increase, the minorities are going to pay the bill. The problem is that a negative way of reporting about minorites was not allowed here for decades. Now everyone may point at their faults for the first time and the pendulum hits the other side as we say here.

martin on :

I think another very important reason is that many people in the east don`t even know foreigners. Less than 1% of the people are foreigners in the east. And the people there just fear something they don`t know. In the GDR were only foreign workers (under very bad conditions) from Vietnam, Cuba and other socialist countrys, and the Soviet Army who behaved very badly in some cases. So there exist a very strange mixture in the east: people fear people they just don`t even know. They maybe had bad experiences with occupation by the Soviet troops and after all they are now unemployed and have nothing to do all day long. They think that they are the loosers of the reunification and that nobody cares about them. In former GDR there always were people who looked after you and who cared for you. That`s just the thing that the neonazis promise and that`s why they are so popular in eatern Germany.

Julia on :

Not true. Unemployment has nothing to do with racism and irrational hatred. If it did, then why not hate Icelanders instead of Jews? Icelanders are very well off economically, just as some Jews are. See, antisemitism exists in Germans (and others as well) regardless whether the Germans are rich or poor, it doesn't matter. And it needs to be STOPPED before they bring about another Holocaust. Antisemitism is based on lies and it's something TAUGHT. Instead, Germans should look at the Jews who have fought their way back from nothing, from extreme poverty and attempts to wipe them all out, and have fought hard and never gave up their right to live, to simply EXIST in the world, and have made successes from their lives. Get off you backsides and do the same for yourselves instead of sitting around whining and hating. Germany needs to stop trying to make excuses right now for its antisemitism. You in Germany and surrounding areas had better start yelling loudly and clearly that antisemitism and racism will NOT be tolerated in your society regardless of anyone's economic status, and you had better do it fast.

Zyme on :

Julia Who are you to order us around? Mind your own buisness! Ignorant foreigners.. were are you from huh..? Did anyone lecture you about your country..? At some point everyone gets fed up with it.

eric on :

calm down , you ignorant german bitch. Face it, your country just hating on foreigners because german fear that they might loose their jobs. That's right, somebody need to order you around. USA rocks.

Anonymous on :

"you ignorant german bitch" no offence but thats slighly out of order to be posted on an anti racist website... sorry i just had to point out the obvious... i think you should take a good long hard look at your own country before you start criticising other individual people!!

joe on :

Interesting to see the reaction to Julia comments by Zyne and Anno. I really wonder what in her comments you find so objectionable to warrant your replies. From reading your M$M part of right wing hate crimes includes anti-Semitism.

Ull lad n Proud on :

Hey eric no offence mate u cant comment look were ur coutry i right now eh? Julia is right what she is saying about whatever she has said, the point is mate your most likely an overweight sweaty pig so lay off her yeh. Usa is obviously the biggest racists in the world so just pipe down rubadub!

ull lad n proud on :

as for you zymey boy i dont even have to see where your from pal you wrie like a rather large irratating american who has no life apart from going on random forums and jumping on the bandwagon when sum1 is getting ragged.... Yes at this point i am fed up with you! You know your coutry is in the wrong so shut it you cannot comment, your opinion is not valid mate no wants to hear it.... Cant you go do summat useful and eat urself into an early grave or summat.... Oh yeah no offence i am just mad at who you are

Ahmed on :

Racism in Germany is an inborn error, from which every German citizen suffers (I mean the true Arian race). Even the current Pope was member of the Hitler’s Youth. Secondly, racism in Germany has nothing to do with the economic situation. Worse economic conditions may aggravate the racism, particularly in Germany where all German carry the gene of racism, but it is not the only cause. There are more poor societies in this world than the Germans who are absolutely not racists. To sum up, all Germans are racists; the only difference is that they may not express it. Economic situation doesn’t explain the rampant situation of racism in Germany!

Alex on :

Ahmed, I'm German and I'm not racist. Still you accuse me of carrying such a gene. To generalize about people because of their ethnicity is racist in my opinion. You are not better than any other racist who looks down on people from a different group by saying that they have negative characteristics.

Allesandro on :

The next Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionary should exchange the word racism with "German". What Ahmed said above is my own experience. Germans are pathological racists; some are very "schlau" not to express it. Anyway it is not difficult to learn the true nature of this society once you have lived with them. To sum up: The majority of Germans are racists who have not changed since Hitler time!

Babic on :

I fully understand and agree with Ahmed’s comments. I am of Indian descent and was born in Berlin and consider Germany as my true home. I support Borussia Dortmund to the core. At sport events you observe a large mass of people partaking in racist chants targeting foreign palayers, particularly black people. Every thing about me is German. Unfortunately, I can justly say that German society is very backward in its acceptance of other people and other cultures as I have felt this racism first hand. They may produce modern cars, but in terms of acceptance of other cultures and people, Germans live in the 19th century. Most Germans are resolute racists and in their country the boundary between legally functioning politics and neo-Nazi one is blurred.

erasmus on :

helo babic Am from Tanzania am going to take some scholarship offerd by the german government here at my country and am really afraid on your topics about racism problems at the country ,so please can you help on know atleast regions where foreigners can live freely and going around ?

Frazier on :

Erasmus, I am an African and lived in Germany for several years. I finally discovered that racism practiced in that country is institutional and left for UK. In hindsight, I regret the years I had spent in Germany, being tormented by overt and occult racism almost on a daily basis. I now lead a happy life; at least here in UK no one is concerned about my skin colour. There are some minor differences on issue of racism anyway. In eastern part of Germany, say in Rostock or Leipzig, the entire community, environment or inanimate objects are racists. So if possible AVOID gong there! Many Africans and Turkish people were massacred by racist in front of police. If you survive a Nazi attack in Eastern Germany, they may send you to prison. Thus do not go there! In other parts of Germany, refined racism is widely practiced. Thy hate you and discriminate you, but the attack is more occult. If you are a qualified professional and apply for a job in your profession, the manager will politely say “we have no job in this position, but we offer you a cleaning job”. Such is the prevailing stance in the western part of Germany. In a way it may not kill you physically, but will certainly harm you emotionally. They may refuse to serve you in a pub in West; in Eastern Germany they simply kill you if you happen to visit their pub! So be warned. If you want to preserve your intellect and sanity, don’t go to Germany!

Pat Patterson on :

I hope that was a typo and you intended to write "covert" because the image of white people dancing naked in covens deep in the woods and sacraficing black people that wandered into the wrong bar is simply to ludicrous to be taken seriously. Massacres, surviving Nazi pogroms or dying because of asking for a Bud Light seems to indicate either the benefits of some reading of interesting web sites from the safety of thousands of miles away or a poorly written satire. I prefer the latter but I suspect the former.

NN on :

Erasnus Google "Noel Martin" and you wil get some answer

Terminator on :

It seems the level and quality of car production is inversely proportional to the degree of intolerance of a country. One frequently hears about new and modern design of cars and ugly racism from Germany. I wonder why Germany so intolerant to foreigners. Do they think they are in 18th century? All our countries were in such a situation and fortunately some of us have moved far from the xenophobia our ancestors had experienced. Come on Germans you can better that the Nazi style hatred and discrimination!

Ibrahim on :

An interesting article on the online version of "der Spiegel" April 5, 2008 summarizes the grim and hideaous racism in Germany. It is entitled "RACISM IN GERMANY, Family Escapes Small Town Xenophobia" By Philipp Wittrock in Rudolstadt. I can't post the link, but find it with the title given above.

African_Princess on :

Mar 21 2008, 3:09 pm I am half German, Half South African (White German dad and Black African mom)...and i have experienced racism in Germany.Every few years i visit family in Germany, in a village near Markdorf, am bodensee. The last time i was there, i decided to go to school for about two months, i was 17 yrs old. Some of the students were fascinated by me, others would just stare.My bad experience came about when while on the bus home, two girls kept calling me NIGGER and laughing at me!I has spent the afternoon crying...Needless to say, my school principal tracked them down and disciplined them!You would think having a German surname would help me integrate easier but that was not the case. I would say the younger generation of Germans seem to be less tolerant than the older generation.I found very surprising that my Grandmother's friends absolutely loved me but i just seemd to struggle connecting with people my age.I will be flying to Germany again this November for another visit and i even plan to study my PHD in Germany in 2010 so my bad experience has not put me off Germany. I just think that alot of Germans, especially in the South are not really exposed to people of different cultures and race.In my grandmother's village, i am the only black person there which i find to be lots of fun.Its just all bout education and the willingness to learn from each other...

Zyme on :

I can agree to the observation that the younger generation is less forthcoming to foreigners. This has two main reasons: The generation of our parents is a very diplomatical one, always focused on behaving the contrary way than the generation of our grandparents would have behaved. They feel uncomfortable with national symbols and prefer to be seen as world citizens. The younger ones on the other hand no longer share this sentiments. They grew up in a re-united Germany in the heart of Europe and are unwilling to be affected by historical burdens. National symbols and language create pride among them again. And they are in many cases fed up by the laissez-faire approach towards immigrants and want the state to become more demanding at assimilating our new fellow citizens. Also in the so called globalized world, they have more fears towards their professional future. So to secure their interests, they are generally less willing to share their wealth with different cultures.

Partha on :

Im doing a school paper on Racism in Germany. And I must say that I am very dissapointed with the citizens of Germany. I thought America was bad enough today, well in some parts, but, Germany takes it to another level. And i never want to go there lol.

kookiez on :

economic status has nothing to do with racism, and not ALL germans are racist, i knnow, i have many german friends, few of my friends are racist (from germany), most of my german friends are supprisingly NOT racist. and the weird part about it, is the non racist ones come from berlin! and places around berlin! all around the world suffers from racism. lets face it, many (and i use the word many for a reason) are slightly prejudice. dont argue with me, try to walk around and ask people in your society to give you one word that comes to mind when you ccall different races. JUST TRY IT! my point will be proven.

dave on :

i think i know what ahmet means-and no-when someone accusses the germans of being rascist, then he is merely stating an observation;which mind you doesnt make him rascist-if i am to say that the cdu is a downright brascist party which stemmed from the nsdap it is merely a fact!how ndoes that make me rascist? furthermore germany has the worst track record in the eu for rascicm-hard fact-the cdu opposses the anti-discrimination law-why? some intelligent reason? no-so,save your national pride for yourself-facts are facts. but it will be absurd to say that all germans are rascict-i know the odd,in this case i thik you are being a defensive german who cant face more thing-if you notice, all foreigners who live here have that impression-why?

dave on :

hey julia, "who are you to push us around"-hello? that sounds like a nazi propaganda against the jews..hmm-nobody is telling nobody what to do here or there-its just a discussion which seems to be getting out of hand-germany has rascist laws because they are scared of the same thing happening to them again-a minority controlling the whole economy-now,how does something like that happen? them germans then must have been one stupid ,useless race-till a little austrian fucker with black hair talks about the aryan race, the swastika etc which are all indian heritage-yes aryan=indian(from india) and them hungry wanna-be's get all confident all of a sudden and actually believe in a lie that got millions killed-come on julia, get a life!

kiran on :

I agree with Julia..that there is anti semitism and hate for jews even now in germany.It is really strange that there are so few jews now and still germans hate them so much..the more black skin you have the more terrible time you ll have in Germany....I feel that unemployment is just a ruse the ordinary germans or even the apologists of present german culture use to ward of criticism about rascism in their country at every level. There is a lot of unemployment in USA....but generally people will let you be ....and not make or shout comments or even give you dirty USA.You feel so free in america than in any part of germany. I made the mistake of choosing germany for study and regretted that mistake for a long time....USA gives you a certain confidence in gives you a chance to be whatever you are without having to feel sorry about lets you walk with dignity without having to watch over your shoulder..... You can be friends with anyone except a german in a german university. All the people whom the germans hate...turkish,Indians,Blacks etc come across as humble,intelligent and fun guys to be around.The germans are cold just like their weather.I suspect that they miss adlof hitler a lot and wish that he never lost that stupid war of theirs. I had to take some time to adjust myself to america and its free you can walk on the streets without having to worry about people giving you dark stares...or being rude. Germans have to learn a lot but they are soo closed and an average german has so many prejudices...that i felt they should be left like that...If you see a bad apple sometimes you should let it rot.They deserve it.

Tom on :

What is the point of that anti german propaganda here? Does anyone of you konw the current situation in Germany? Does anybody know about the criminal statistics in germany? Why should native germans accept that their country is flooded by millions of non- or low -educated people from arabia? Here are some facts: Number of mosques 1970: 10 Number of mosques 2008: nearly 3000 Why? Please, you "antifascists" "antiracists", explain me what native germans have to think about that? Birth rate native germans: 1,3 per woman Birth rate muslim immigrants: 3,1 per woman What will be the consenquences of that? Please tell me. Number of nuslims in germany 1970: 1,5 million Number of muslims in germany 2008: 7,5 million Is their nobody who can probably understand the fears of native germans to become strangers in their own country? What is the point that more than 5 million turks and kurds live in germany?

Sulaiman on :

So the number of mosques really bothers you that much does it? You Germans should consider tightening your immigration laws if that's the way you really feel. I'm a British born Pakistani, and to be honest England is for the most part devoid of racism, In the 13 years i lived there I experienced barely any discrimination whatsoever . Anyway My Father came into the country as an orthopedic surgeon, interesting how you failed to mention how many of your Muslim immigrants will have contributed to your country's labour force. My parents moved back here 5 years ago but it goes without saying that I'll be returning to Britain, I plan on studying law at oxford next year and spending the rest of my life there... if any of you are interested in my reasoning, there really isn't that much to it. English is my mother tongue i am unable to speak Pakistan's national language "Urdu" ( although i did grow up speaking Pashto, it's a langauge that's only spoken in the north and in Afghanistan and therefore opens no doors for me career wise). Back to my point though ... i really don't have a choice, I myself don't agree with many Muslim practices and am somewhat of an atheist, and that (to say the least) doesn't go down well with my people. So essentially I think speak and act like the average British 18 year old, It's called cultural integration and I'm sure many of the Muslims in Germany will experience a similar change in their youths attitude. Just thought I'd give u guys a little insight into how i think =P

Joshua on :

I'm searching for a place who someone can help me (and the others). In the past tree month I can't belive what is going on in germany. A lot of (most young 20-40 years) people spit on me. During dancing with girls (11.2008), on a trailstation two times they insult me, a.s.o. Friends leaves me, because I get trouble in pubs! I did nothing. They stand in front of me and insult me. At first times my friends try help me, but now they see that to much of them run with. In the newspaper you can read that a lot of nazi attacks the clarification are not possible. I've look in germans BND for the german word "nazi". You didn't find a result, also for "rassismus". Germany have no problems with nazis... The Germans did not learn nearly 100 years in addition. Currently a lot of thinks are similarly of "Weimacher Republik"! The beginning of Nazi-Deutschland in 2008. For peoples who not belive this: Disguise as foreigners and go yourselves then into a German tavern. If you try it times, then you know which I mean!!!

Anonymous on :

I don't want to sound harsh, but.. You don't like it in Germany? Then there are an additional 26 countries in the EU you can give a try. Why don't you go to Austria or Italy? You (and the others) are certainly being helped there. And believe it or not: there even is a world beyond Europe. I take it you are not being held captive somewhere?

Z on :

Hi, does any of you know, where the toilet is?

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options