Xenophobia widespread among German youth

Xenophobia widespread among German youth
A rally in Berlin for far-right youth centre in 2008. Photo: DPA
A new study released this week shows xenophobic attitudes are widespread among German youth and many of the country’s teenagers have far-right extremist and anti-Semitic leanings.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he was “shocked” by the findings of a survey on youth violence, even though the survey showed it to be on the decline.

Presented by Christian Pfeiffer from Lower Saxony’s institute for criminology, the study found 14.4 percent – or roughly one in seven of the German 15-year-olds surveyed – held strongly xenophobic views. Nearly five percent of the boys and 2.6 percent of the girls even admitted to belonging to a far-right extremist group.

“This has to wake us up to the fact that a higher percentage of boys in west and east Germany have been pulled into the wake of the far-right,” Pfeiffer said at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday.

Almost a third of German youth agreed with the statement: “There are too many foreigners in Germany.” And nearly 40 percent believed most foreigners were criminals.

More than five percent of those surveyed showed strongly anti-Semitic attitudes.

The study polled some 45,000 youths with an average age of 15 in 2007 and 2008 across Germany.