• Germany edition
 
'The Jewish Candidate'
'Germany is indifferent to neo-Nazi violence'
Photo: David Crossland

'Germany is indifferent to neo-Nazi violence'

Published: 24 May 2013 12:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 May 2013 12:00 GMT+02:00

It's an intriguing premise: Are Germans ready to elect a Jewish politician chancellor? British journalist David Crossland has written a novel exploring themes of racism and neo-Nazi violence in Germany. The Local has excerpts.

David Crossland was born in 1967 in Bonn, then the capital of West Germany, where his father was a foreign correspondent. He was educated at German schools until he was 16, and then attended a school in Bristol before studying politics and economics at Exeter University.

He has been a journalist for over 20 years, working for Reuters from 1994 until 2004, first in Frankfurt where he covered financial and economic affairs including the wrangling that preceded the launch of the euro, and then in Berlin as chief political correspondent, in charge of covering news from Germany. He has worked for Spiegel Online International since 2005 and also freelances for other publications.

He has written extensively about the growing threat posed by neo-Nazis in the former communist east, and has tracked the country's probing search for a new, bolder role in the world as new generations throw off the chains of guilt. "The Jewish Candidate" is his first foray into fiction.

The Local: Why did you write a book on this theme?

David Crossland: In the many years I have been reporting about Germany I have been struck by how indifferent the authorities are to the problem of neo-Nazi violence against immigrants. Experts have been warning for years that the extreme right is being underestimated. The NSU case has proven them right. The combination of well-armed racists, official inaction and the backdrop of Germany striving to be a normal country again and put the Holocaust behind it, struck me as potent material for a political thriller.

TL: Do you think Germany is ready for a Jewish chancellor?

DC: In theory, yes. But I think he or she would have to be an extremely gifted politician to stand a chance. He would have to suppress his Jewish identity to overcome public doubts about his loyalties. And he would get a lot of hate mail. But given the dearth of Jews in German politics at the moment, I think it's unlikely anytime soon. The rebirth of Jewish life in Germany is much-hyped, but I don't see much real evidence of it.

TL: To what extent is the far a threat in Germany?

DC: This country is too enlightened to vote them back into power again. I think the NPD and their ilk will remain negligible as a nationwide political force. The threat is to people on the street, in trains, on buses, getting harassed and beaten up or worse. And the threat is to Germany's reputation as a civilized nation, which will suffer unless it gets tougher on far-right thugs and tackles blatant institutional racism in its police -- as Britain has tried to do.

TL: You grew up in Germany. What's your view on it?

DC: I hope my affection for Germany and the Rhineland in particular, and for its beer, comes through in the book. It has so much going for it. But I’m disappointed at how immigrants are still viewed as foreigners even after decades living here, and at the general complacency about neo-Nazism. You get racists and far-right whackos everywhere. But Germany, which perpetrated the Holocaust, should have a zero tolerance policy here.

Click here for the prologue.

Click here for the first chapter.

"The Jewish Candidate" is available as an e-book at Amazon.co.uk here and at Amazon.com here.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes
Leonardo had to have a finger and toe amputated after staff refused to call an ambulance. Photo: DPA

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes

A political row has broken out in Bavaria after an asylum seekers' home failed to help a toddler who almost died of meningitis. The case has raised concerns about the treatment of refugees in the state. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
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
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
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
Advertisement:
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:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully 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

3,146
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd