• Germany's news in English
 

Young easterners as anti-foreigner as old in west

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

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)

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
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

3,157
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd