• 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

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

Expat's family battles for answers four years on
Matthew Fitzpatrick died in 2010 in Mannheim. Photo: Fitzpatrick family

Expat's family battles for answers four years on

In 2010 an Irish computer engineer was found dead in his apartment in Baden-Württemberg. Four years on, his family are still pressing the German justice system for answers. They feel badly let down by police who they say have refused to examine evidence of foul play. READ  

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret
The judges of the Supreme Court announce their decision about weapons exports on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret

The government can keep arms deals secret and only tell the public about them after contracts have been signed, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Just how honest would you have to be to return €7,500 that you found in a box supposed to contain your favourite cheesecake? READ  

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel
Photo: DPA

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel

Around 160 car owners are stuck after a gas station's storage tanks were filled with the wrong fuel, causing an estimated €100,000 in damage. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights

UPDATE: In the second day of their strike, Lufthansa pilots have, as promised, extended their industrial action to include long-haul international flights until the end of Tuesday. READ  

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to help the war-scarred nation pay off its gas debts to Russia, amid concern over gas supplies this winter. READ  

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force
Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the World Health Summit in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force

At the World Health Summit in Berlin, the Ebola crisis took centre stage at talks meant to create plans for how to handle future outbreaks. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,478
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd