• Germany edition
 
Young easterners as anti-foreigner as old in west
Photo: DPA

Young easterners as anti-foreigner as old in west

Published: 26 Mar 2013 13:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Mar 2013 13:37 GMT+01:00

Young eastern Germans are as xenophobic as pre-war west Germans, according to a new study, which suggests that both groups had similar historical experiences - the collapse of an authoritarian regime.

People born after 1981 in the formerly communist eastern half of Germany are as anti-foreigner as those born before 1930 in the west, researchers at Leipzig University discovered after spending ten years asking people about their views, weekly newspaper Die Zeit reported on Tuesday.

More than 31 percent of younger eastern and elderly western Germans could be said to be xenophobic, they concluded.

The team of sociologist Johannes Kiess and psychologists Oliver Decker and Elmar Brähler asked 18 questions to tease out the level of xenophobia of their subjects. They asked about support for right-wing authoritarian dictatorships, whether Jews were "too influential," how important a national feeling is, and whether the Nazi era had its good aspects.

"Our thesis that xenophobia is the gateway drug has been clearly confirmed," said Brähler. He and the team had published findings every two years, but their latest publication pulled ten years of work together.

Regardless of age, 23 percent of people in the west, and 32 percent in the east agreed with xenophobic statements. Yet anti-Semitism seemed to be distributed the other way around, with nearly one in ten of westerners tending towards that particular brand of hatred, and only one in sixteen in the east.

Nearly ten percent of western Germans born before 1950 could be said to have clearly extreme-right attitudes. This share rose to 16 percent for western Germans born before 1930. In eastern Germany around ten percent of those born since 1971 could be described in this way - with men clearly over represented. The worst groups were the oldest in the west and the youngest in the east, with xenophobia rates of more than 30 percent.

Decker said these figures were "the results of an authoritarian socialization", referring to the Nazi dictatorship and the collapse of the East German communist regime.

"The collapse of societies which have integrated their members in an authoritarian fashion leads to authoritarian aggression," he said.

The study suggests that centre of society is not immune to becoming a threat to democratic life and that democracy is "not always on a stable base". The stark warning issued by the researchers was that if things get bad for the majority of a society, democracy loses its power to keep people integrated.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

07:05 March 27, 2013 by IchBinKönig
by this logic the increasing intolerance for immigrants in Greece has to do with the 'Collapse of an Authoritarian Regime'.

Doesn't it really have more to do with poverty and a loss of everything BUT a national identity? Its why often the poorest people are the most devout, to sport, nation, neighborhood or religion. Its all they have. In the new EU, it seems we're back to those days.
14:30 March 27, 2013 by Bulldawg82
@IchBinKonig: I think you have summed it up very nicely.
15:05 March 28, 2013 by Berliner1978
There's nothing wrong with Nationalism, only with what you do with it..

Invading Poland = bad.

Keeping Germany to be German = good.

Pride in one's people and nation are healthy as long as others are respected as well. And why not? Where would we be without Chinese food, or pizza? At the same time, there is the saying that strong fences make good neighbors. Relatives who come to visit are welcome for a while, but eventually it's time to go home, right?

As long as they are not declaring war on anyone or putting people in camps, no one should be pointing a finger at Germany for wanting stay German by limiting foreign influence or the number of immigrants who come there.. Go to any of these other countries and try demanding that you be accommodated, good luck with that.

This whole idea that everyone must be free to come to a country and change it from what it is to something else at the expense of the people who live there is absolute garbage. Why is it wrong for people to preserve their culture and country?

Because there's no money to be made in it, that's why. To make money, big money, requires change, the more the better. People who are this greedy do not care for history (see the current flap over that section of the wall being torn down at 0500 in the morning) or culture, or national pride. If it stands in the way of them making money or gaining power and influence (which leads to money) it has to go. Right and wrong mean nothing to them, and you wonder why things are the way they are when people such as these are in power, either directly or indirectly.

A stable society, where things can be counted on from one generation to the next, offers the people safety and security, but nothing to politicians, bankers, and developers. Germany is at special disadvantage here as anything remotely nationalistic gets immediately tagged as "Nazi", and at that point those trying to stand up for their country and it's culture are "guilt-ed" to roll over and submit. In such a way present day Germans are made to continue to pay for the sins of National Socialism committed long before they were born.
17:10 March 28, 2013 by alf2
It is not democracy which keeps people integrated, it is monoculturalism, which liberals have been trying to corrode for decades.
Today's headlines
Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Russian troops surround a Ukrainian base in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies. READ () »

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Photo: DPA

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road. READ () »

Ecclestone bribery trial kicks off in Munich
Bernie Ecclestone in court in Munich on Thursday morning. Photo: DPA

Ecclestone bribery trial kicks off in Munich

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Munich on Thursday facing bribery charges in a case which threatens his nearly 40-year-reign of the motor sport. READ () »

Where are Germany's smartest towns?
Germany's cleverest town. Photo: DPA

Where are Germany's smartest towns?

A brain training website released scores on Wednesday showing which German towns performed best and worst in a range of cognitive tests - with some surprising results. READ () »

April wraps up with stormy week ahead
Lightning over Lake Starnberg, in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

April wraps up with stormy week ahead

The end of April is looking stormy for Germany with hot and cold air mixing and making for wild spring weather over the coming few days, state forecasters DWD said on Wednesday. READ () »

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Russian troops pictured in March in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia

Germany arms sales to Russia have come under fire following the crisis in Ukraine. In 2012 Germany sold €40 million worth of rifles, pistols and armoured vehicles to the country. READ () »

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel
Photo: Nieto Sobejano Architects, Berlin

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel

Munich's old city centre is to receive an ultra modern addition to its skyline in the shape of a new hotel dubbed 'the Tetris cube'. READ () »

The Local List
German beer culture in 11 gulps
Photo: DPA

German beer culture in 11 gulps

Wednesday marks the 498th anniversary of Germany's celebrated beer purity law, so in honour of nearly half a millennium of hoppy history, this week's Local List tells some beer truths you may not know. READ () »

Feminist's apartment advert goes viral
Photo: Screenshot/Facebook

Feminist's apartment advert goes viral

Finding accommodation in Berlin is notoriously tricky. But one woman on the hunt might have a particularly hard time of it, with an advert for an apartment so absurd it has gone viral. READ () »

Russian spies step up activity in Germany
The Russian embassy building in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Russian spies step up activity in Germany

Russian spies are increasingly targeting potential informants in German politics and business by taking them out to dinner, according to counterintelligence services. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
11 things you need to know about German beer
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Advertisement:
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,069
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd