• Germany's news in English

Germany kicks off Unity Day celebrations in Hamburg

DDP/The Local · 3 Oct 2008, 11:02

Published: 03 Oct 2008 11:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Around 1,200 guests, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Horst Köhler, Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust and more than 100 ambassadors, are to take part in the official celebrations in Hamburg on Friday.

The festivities will showcase prominent cultural projects around Germany under the motto, “Cultural Nation Germany.” The celebrations kick off with a mass at the Saint Michael Church in Hamburg which is to focus on the integration of immigrants in German society. A three-day festival near the Hamburg harbour, which is open to all visitors, will include food stalls and specialities from all of Germany’s 16 federal states.

Some politicians have used the occasion of German Unity Day to warn about the danger posed by right-wing extremism, particularly in eastern Germany.

Sebastian Edathy of the Social Democratic Party warned of a heightened radicalism and a growing readiness to resort to violence among young people in depressed eastern regions. He pointed out that funds for youth work had been slashed in many communities in eastern Germany.

“Far-right parties and groups are using the resulting vacuum to draw young people towards their ideology of hate,” Edathy said.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews, however, warned that rising right-wing extremism was no longer just an eastern German problem.

“Right-wing extremism is a danger to all of German society and not just to one or two minorities,” Stephan Kramer, general-secretary of the Council warned.

Story continues below…

Some politicians have also used Unity Day to urge schools in eastern Germany to redouble efforts to teach the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in classrooms. Several recent surveys have shown that students in eastern Germany know very little of the region’s past and often take a benign view of the Communist dictatorship.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd