Xenophobia widespread among German youth

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.

Xenophobia widespread among German youth
A rally in Berlin for far-right youth centre in 2008. Photo: DPA

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.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.