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'One in six' east Germans think like neo-Nazis
Photo: DPA

'One in six' east Germans think like neo-Nazis

Published: 12 Nov 2012 15:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Nov 2012 15:51 GMT+01:00

The share of east Germans with an extreme right wing political mentality has exploded over the last two years, with nearly one in six now thinking like a neo-Nazi, new figures show.

Just two years ago 10.5 percent of people in the east could be classified as having a "cohesive far-right world view", the Friedrich Ebert Foundation said in a report released on Monday. This has increased by around half since then to reach 15.8 percent now, the report said.

During the same two years the situation in the west had largely remained stable, with the proportion of people thinking like fascists down slightly from 7.6 percent to 7.3 percent.

The economic decline in the east was a major reason for the depressing news, Oliver Decker, one of the study's authors, told The Local.

"People with a good education, and women [of all levels of education], have moved away. We have seen a strong increase in the share of young people thinking like this, and this is strongly connected to a widespread feeling of hopelessness and lack of opportunity," he said.

He said the money pumped into the east to prop up industry and rebuild the crumbling towns and infrastructure after reunification in 1990, has stopped having an effect.

"You can literally see the paint coming off these projects now. There is no more money and those who are still there see that they are in a region that has been abandoned."

A lack of self-esteem and no clear personal identification contributes to individuals turning to far right thinking he said, while far greater efforts needed to be made to increase the levels of democracy at all levels of society, from schools upwards. Only then would people actually experience for themselves the importance of democratic systems, he suggested.

The most widespread far-right attitude was xenophobia, which affects 25.1 percent of the entire population, the study's authors wrote. Hostility towards foreigners could be seen in around 20 percent of western Germans - and in 39 percent of people in the east. Those without work are most likely to be xenophobic.

East Germans aged between 14 and 30 are more likely to support the idea of a far-right authoritarian dictatorship than those over 60, the study showed.

Around one in 11 of all Germans are anti-Semitic, the study showed, while the easterners have for the first time overtaken the westerners in this regard - and a hatred of Jews is most widely-spread among pensioners.

Yet the general satisfaction with democracy as a form of government when compared with other options has remained stable at nearly 95 percent, the study showed.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:29 November 12, 2012 by Wise Up!
What's the difference between a far right authoritarian dictatorship and the far left totalitarian dicatorship the west is implementing?
17:48 November 12, 2012 by Englishted
@Wise Up!

As comments go this one of yours is surrealist .
17:55 November 12, 2012 by Johnne
Well....No comment.
18:01 November 12, 2012 by Eric1
What's the ratio of those that think like Stalin? I would say about the same or higher.
18:44 November 12, 2012 by LiberalGuy
Serious question. Are there any towns (besides Potsdam) that aren't infested with Nazis?
20:00 November 12, 2012 by raandy
xenophobia, as the article pointed out is the main reason for this extremist viewpoint. The other is the time warp that the DDR was in, many feel left out of mainstream society.

As the demographics change here so will the percentage of neo nazis.
20:24 November 12, 2012 by Bigfoot76
"He said the money pumped into the east to prop up industry and rebuild the crumbling towns and infrastructure after reunification in 1990, has stopped having an effect".

I am so happy that the money I pay for Solidaritätszuschlag is doing absolutely nothing.
20:51 November 12, 2012 by IchBinKönig
LOL. Yeah these 'Far-Right' SOCIALISTS, with Nationalist tendencies... They are begging for a Socialist Nationalist Dictator, they can elect permanently once, with a xenophobic streak ... This is the former DDR for Bert's sake. They want the Communist DDR back.
22:13 November 12, 2012 by lordkorner
Just read today that a Nazi Demo was stopped in Frankfurt (Oder) at the weekend by the local people, how about a bit more uplifting reporting there at the local,after all winter is setting in.
22:39 November 12, 2012 by IchBinKönig
the local people 'stopping' the demo are often not much better. a Rampaging idiot anti-Nazi is still just a rampaging idiot. Silencing opinion and thought is no way to deal with any problem. Let them speak, then make an arguments against their ideology. Otherwise, you're no better than they are.
22:56 November 12, 2012 by vladpootin
Barrak Obama during a speech at the Brandenberg Gate:

" Chancellor Merkel, build back that wall" !
00:13 November 13, 2012 by catjones
The neo-Nazis have identified the villain and the scapegoat for your failure and it is not you.
01:42 November 13, 2012 by grazhdanin
There is no decline in the East and neither a lack of opportunity.
07:03 November 13, 2012 by McM
Obviously some old issues still steaming away in Germany and I suspect elsewhere under other precious demographic labels. On the other hand the German population would be better served by a survey that looks at the increase in far left loonie activity and the tide of social media controlled sheep that think popping on a black hoody and calling each other activists gives them the right to disrupt anything that threatens their free lunch value systems and helps them avoid any serious social contribution.

OK , you got I am stirring , it's a far cop!
12:38 November 13, 2012 by StoutViking
I'm with McM on this one. The state appears to ignore far-left violence, then labels as Näääääätzi and locks up anyone who dares swimming against the sewage current of the red-green narrative.

What is this? The mind police?

"Die Gedanken sind frei" still means anything to anyone?

Will Germany learn anything from history, or simply replace one tyranny with another?
13:31 November 13, 2012 by truth is treason
I wonder if the same questions where ask in Spain, Greece and England what the outcome would be? I remember a survey being conducted in Glasgow on 2 different weekends. The same question was asked "Should we still have the Queen"? One weekend Yes/No 20/80 the next weekend it was Yes/No 80/20. Why the difference. 1st weekend Glasgow Celtic played at home next weekend Glasgow Rangers where playing at home. Always ask where, when and how are being asked.
12:22 November 14, 2012 by LecteurX
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:23 November 14, 2012 by StoutViking
@LecturX - you're the paranoid m*ron. I couldn't be Nazi if I wanted to. I'm not exactly... "Reinrassiger".

So, what other tricks, rather than empty accusations, can you throw at me?

Seriously, can anyone here run a mature discussion, using facts, documents, explainations... You know, a debate, not a p*ss-contest?

And a lot of things will put you on the watchlist of the German intelligence. Burning cars, throwing rocks and fighting with police is one of them. It just makes no sense that they'd monitor everyone who's a party member. They need the manpower to watch others too. :)

Oh and Zschäpe is a trollop. Everyone knows women in this scene are matresses who follow orders, not some mastermind-something. She's LfV's fig leaf. LfV sharted their pants, now they'll try to make a scene-skank to look like she is the mastermind.
00:32 November 15, 2012 by sonriete
I find it creepy to be keeping tabs like this on how people think. That should be their private business. It is almost as though these people are being accused of thought crimes.
12:07 November 16, 2012 by LecteurX
@ StoutViking - I'm really sorry about you not having the proper race credentials to allow you to join the club. I'll try to sponsor you if you want. When there's a will, there's a way :-)

You were the one saying, in spite of all evidence screaming the exact opposite, that "the state appears to ignore far-left violence". If that's not a paranoid statement, I don't know what's one. So you want "a mature discussion, using facts, documents"? Well, I provided a link from the German media quoting the Interior Minister and a few other officials. What about you? Daft rhetoric. Quelle surprise. Yeah, mature discussion indeed.

I don't care about Beate Zschäpe being a big boss of the scene or not, and I never implied any such thing. I mentioned her because you spoke about the state "locking up" people with far-right views - another interesting contribution of yours to this "mature discussion". Well, was she "locked up" just for the crime of hating foreigners, or rather on grounds of murdering brown people and blowing up banks? There's a difference I believe... Normally, you can respond whatever you like to that sort of survey and won't risk much, unless you punctuate your answers with outstretched arms and shouts of "Sieg Heil" to the pollsters, which is another story...

Then you're free not to like that sort of survey, and just like sonriete, to find them "creepy". I think they usually are very interesting. Most of them. All those surveys that tell us what people think of the EU, how "integrated" immigrants feel in Germany, how very religious a significant number of young Turks in Germany are, how many Americans believe in creationism, how people perceive the financial sector, etc, are fascinating and useful to understand the society we live in.

I don't always like the results of these surveys, or the judgmental tones with which they usually are disclosed (most often it is clearly a case of "right vs wrong answer") but I find nothing "creepy" about them. The creepy part, for me, is the reaction of people who lament that we dare to bring up the topic in the news (censorship anyone?) and start complaining right away about the "mind police".

If you care to type "linksextremismus studie" in a search engine, you'll get plenty of results showing the wealth of research on leftwing movements. Of course, then, if you solely rely on The Local to inform you, well...
15:29 November 16, 2012 by Theta Me
@ Eric 1

Why every time there is discussion about Neonazis there is someone blaming Stalin and his believers? Do you think that all the anti-Nazi people are Stalinists? If you are right and the rate of Stalinists is higher than this of Neonazis then the situation is even worst. We say no to fascism - black or red!!!
20:48 November 16, 2012 by rmsbl4
I wonder if I can sue to get my tax money back for a program that was supposed to last for I think 10 years but is still going on?
03:43 November 17, 2012 by rwk
rmsbl4 - the program has been for poorer areas both FRG and GDR, though yes, most of the money has gone east...but also north.

Extremists of all types come out of the woodwork when the economy gets rough. The problem is, that the extremists of the so-called right are the ones that get the most negative publicity. The left and the Salafis are just as bad.

I don't see this ending well. Germany has had much inflation as a whole, but the money is concentrated in the west, particularly the southwest. The country has ruined its energy industries, and will end up paying much more for electricity and fuel, and it will all be flowing out of the country. Industry will shortly start departing, probably for areas where the long-term prospects are better, for instance, Czechia. What will be left in twenty years will be a very very wealthy, spending all of their money and energy avoiding a confiscatory tax regime, and they will all be old. Non-Germans will be imported to do the 'manual labor'. In fifty years German will become an anachronistic language and identity, as the last 'traditional and ethnic' Germans die of old age.
19:44 November 17, 2012 by StoutViking
@LectureX - wait, so first I'm a Nazi, then someone accusingly calls me a Jew and now I'm "regretful of not being able to be a Nazi"? You types never cease to amaze me with your poop-flinging abilities.

So tell me, why is it REALLY you and all other lefties are so trigger-happy when it comes to defaming someone as a Nazi? Rules of psychology says that it's a way to distancing the problem from oneself, by blaming it on another. Kind of like latent homosexuals call others "homo". So, while you're busy smearing your dirt on me, perhaps it is you who really has something to declare to the Gewissenszoll?

Oh and I speak 4 languages, therefore my choice of media sources is by far wider than yours. Just in case I have a rabbit in my hat especially for you. A research, such as the one above, done by lefties (or else you wouldn't swallow it). Now what I find interesting, is the figures on page 45, when they break down the figures into affilliation with a political party:

http://www.fes-gegen-rechtsextremismus.de/pdf_12/mitte-im-umbruch_www.pdf

Here's a quick breakdown of the survey:

http://www.zukunftskinder.org/?p=31747#more-31747

So, one could be a schauvinistic, xenophobic anti-semite, but he could polish his conscience at the SPD. Seriously, the more they poke at this whole "Nazi-thoughts" business, the more they find it in themselves.

Oh and as far as for leftwing extremist, there's the VfS website. It's all free to be read there. And yes, kind of hard to ignore the open violence at demos.
11:25 November 19, 2012 by LecteurX
@ StoutViking - I was delighted to see that you had answered my comment and eagerly proceeded to peruse your input, however, I had to stop reading at "poop-flinging abilities". I admit I went too far calling you a "paranoid m*ron" in my first post (people's intentional dishonesty can make me that childishly upset) and I didn't take offence as you returned the compliment, but now I think I've had enough of this "mature discussion" with you, really. You grown-ups are way out of my league and I shall therefore stick with kids at the schooyard.

Good day to you, Sir.
16:49 November 21, 2012 by Bernhard Pallmann
First of all: I am a german, born 1948 in Munich, Bavaria. The study "one in six like neo-Nazis" (ca. 15%) could be done in many groups/parts of Germany with similar results. In Bavaria (Bayern) the "ultras-right"-pushed Xenophobia is still one of the "excluding stile" of others. Remember, the local CSU-party admired Thilo Sarrazin and his book of "Deutschland schafft sich ab" from 2010 until now. Xenophobia, rasissm, "pure blood"-selection connected with the oeconomy crisis after 1929 were the arguments for Hitlers clever inventors of gas-showers. We, Germany as a whole, legalized the "KZ"s as Stalin and other dictators did. Yes. So, you may diminish or "excuse the Nazi-horror with the satanism of Stalins Gulag or F. Francos killergangs"? Does not work, babe.

But we as the next generation have in the whole world and in our country the much more higher responibility than others to prevent, to resist against "Moderrn Dr. Mengeles from Haar to Straubing" and to open our mouth against the sympathy with "ultra-right daemagogs." Even Mr. Helmut Schmidt ("Ex-Bundeskanzler") and honest-fine people of the more conservative parts said this many times. "Alex Zouras Award/Foundation" Speaker Dr. Bernhard Pallmann
11:38 November 25, 2012 by Jont Musiteur
I also call BS on these statistics, if only because I've seen a whole lot more latent and marginally more overt racism in the West than the East of Germany. Racist statements in the West start "I'm not a racist but...", in the East they start "These f*ing immigrants... apart from the ones I know..." They're still racist, but the veneer of equanimity and largesse is far more prominent in the West than the East, IME.

No wait, I also call BS on what I wrote above - I've so far lived in major cities, but that's not where the difference lies, it's in the villages in the countryside. West German villages have their Schützenfests and a kind of endemic and impenetrable cultural conservatism you just don't see in the East, whereas many East German villages are completely impoverished in a way that will confront you every day from morning to evening however much you personally earn - they're extremely depressing places, and a natural hotbed for extremist politics whichever way. Villages have their own community dynamic you won't find in large towns and cities.

There may be something to the statistic, but you have to have lived there and met the people to see what the numbers actually mean. But only after you've taken your political sunglasses off, whether red or brown tinted.
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