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Book describes Germany without foreigners

The Local · 20 Jun 2012, 08:30

Published: 20 Jun 2012 08:30 GMT+02:00

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Gomez. Podolski. Khedira. Boateng. If a symbol was needed of Germany’s increasing cultural and national diversity, few could be more potent or public than the exotic names that adorn the shirts of the German national football team, currently competing at Euro 2012.

On the pitch, this model of modern-day diversity seems to work so well, as players of Spanish, Polish, Tunisian and Ghanaian heritage link harmoniously and work for a common cause.

But in schools, streets, offices, where the mechanics of co-operative society are not greased by fame and fortune, the multinational Bundesrepublik is not such an unqualified success.

That was the verdict of a survey commissioned by the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper in the wake of SPD politician and former Bundesbank executive Thilo Sarrazin’s controversial 2010 bestseller Deutschland schafft sich ab "Germany abolishes itself".

The survey found that more than half of Germans supported Sarrazin’s ideas – that immigrants were guilty of a widespread refusal to integrate (people estimated that "70 percent of the Turkish and 90 percent of the Arab population in Berlin" were not trying); that they presented an increasingly intolerable burden on the state, relying more on social services than their own productivity; and that a highly restrictive immigration policy was the solution.

As many as 18 percent of Germans told the paper they would vote for Sarrazin if he started a political party. But what if that figure doubled, prompted, say, by the increasingly tight grip of austerity, which in other European nations has seen a pronounced shift towards the right? Chancellor Angela Merkel won the 2009 election with just 33.8 percent of the vote.

Imagining expulsion of all foreigners

The possibility of an extreme right-wing administration might seem outlandish, but two authors have decided to imagine just such an event – and its consequences for German society.

In their book Deutschland ohne Ausländer “Germany without Foreigners”, Matthias Thieme and Pitt von Bebenburg imagine a Germany where a right-wing populist government has taken expelled all residents without a German passport. That’s seven million people – accounting for one in ten residents of North-Rhine Westphalia, one in eight Berliners, and one in four of Frankfurt residents.

Certain extreme sections of public opinion might be placated, argued Thieme and von Bebenburg, but the disastrous effects of such an exodus would quickly become apparent. Overall tax revenue would be shorn of €50 billion, and the federal budget would be denuded of €25 billion – which equates to the current allocations for the ministries of family, education, economy and research put together, say the authors.

Moreover, the idea that German residents of foreign heritage are a drain on state finances is wide of the mark, according to the book. True enough, people of non-German descent pay less tax than their "native" counterparts (€7,400 per year per head to €10,800), but they also receive less in pensions and benefits. What’s more, the authors say, "As a proportion, more migrants are productive than native Germans."

Entire industries driven to verge of collapse

Entire industries would be driven to the verge of collapse. Interviewed in the book, ergonomist Gerard Bosch says that the care, craft and catering industries would be decimated, with the latter losing over a fifth of its employees.

Worse still, Bosch says, the "dramatic workforce shortage" could only be solved by an autocratic labour policy, where "the unemployed would be forced under almighty pressure into the cleaning services."

Manfred Schmidt, president of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, told the authors that the dwindling economy would have dire ramifications for the individual lives of Germany’s population. "The Gross Domestic Product would immediately sink by about eight percent, or €150 billion to €200 billion a year."

According to Schmidt, that would mean the remaining native Germans would have to accept impoverished living conditions, a reduction of Germany’s future prospects in a competitive global economy, and a heightened retirement age, probably to 67.

One myth the authors are particularly keen to dispel is that the exodus of foreigners living in Germany would reduce crime. On the contrary, they argue, crimes of prejudice would simply be directed at new targets, possibly the elderly and handicapped.

’There would be a civil war’

Story continues below…

MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit – as a French-born German who represents France in the European Parliament himself a perfect example of integration – said second- and third-generation migrants who would be allowed to stay in this scenario, would not accept the eviction of their families. "There would be a civil war," he predicted.

Germany's international standing would be irreparably damaged, according to Cohn-Bendit. "Germany would immediately be excluded from the EU for violating the terms of the Lisbon treaty," he said. "There would be a great isolation of Germany from the whole world ... there would be economic sanctions – no more German exports. Germany would be as isolated as Iran is today."

Thieme and von Bebenburg acknowledge that such a sequence of events is highly unlikely. In a concluding section entitled "Is such a scenario possible?" experts from politics, law and science explain that the ascent to power of such a right-wing regime is, for the foreseeable future, extremely improbable. Among other factors, the institutional hurdles are too high and the right’s political identity too fractured.

But, they argue, that doesn't mean that Deutschland ohne Ausländer is a pointless book - not when people like Sarrazin can induce more than half the population to question the very value of immigrants in German society.

This is particularly true in a time of economic decline, so often seen as the slippery slope on which xenophobic ideas gather popular momentum. Greece’s neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, which has said it would drag immigrants from kindergartens and hospitals to free up space for native Greeks, has been gaining support in a horrendous economic environment.

The book concludes with an interview with the author Günter Wallraff. "It’s a horrendous conception," he says. "A gruesome science fiction scenario, which we would have to save ourselves from. Daily routine and public life would be unbearable. And the worst part? The Sarrazins would be among us. I’d rather blow my brains out."

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:09 June 20, 2012 by wood artist
Without the benefit of actually having read the book, I'm going to assume that the numbers cited herein are reasonably accurate.

Just as we a seeing in the US right now, where rhetoric and bombast, based entirely upon pre-conceived notions and traditional bigotry and bias, the facts are probably not important. This is, for most people, an emotional process, meaning that personal opinions are largely based upon tradition and parental teaching, perhaps reinforced by a couple of personal experiences that seem to match the observer's bias. In short, if you want to believe in "lazy Turks" (or any specific group) that's what you'll believe you see.

We can discuss, argue, and debate for hours but the fact remains that the world is becoming more and more a global society, and no amount of hate is likely to change that. We can adapt, or we can simply complain, but in the end the result will be largely the same. The only difference will be how miserable we make ourselves and others while watching it happen.

10:46 June 20, 2012 by blackboot11
"We can adapt, or we can simply complain, but in the end the result will be largely the same. The only difference will be how miserable we make ourselves and others while watching it happen."

@ wood artist: Thank you for this. It truly is a positive thought on a not so complex issue that the some germans dread on a daily basis. It is called evolution. You might tend to think that people would or could learn something from history. Some do and some don't, not here and also not in other parts of the world. Hopefully, as in the case of the dinosaurs, they too will become extinct.
11:17 June 20, 2012 by lewispl
@wood artist: I seldom see comments so educated and enlightened in thought as what you have posted above. In two short paragraphs you have captured everything that needs to be said of immigration, not only in the U.S., but globally. Thank you for your truthful words.

wa for president!!
11:42 June 20, 2012 by Berliner Mauer
@ wood artist: Your responses to articles are the gemstones I look for in the comments section of The Local. You bring value to the time I otherwise waste reading the comments.

I second that motion: WA for president!
11:45 June 20, 2012 by wicked59
I have to agree with the two previous posters that you "wood artist" have said it perfectly. There is nothing more to add. I also have to say that no matter what the subject is, I always enjoy and look for your very common sense comments :).
12:45 June 20, 2012 by freechoice
Yeah! Continue to Flame the Fuels of Fire with more of this article. You have outdone yourselves again, The Local.
13:01 June 20, 2012 by injira
Great comment wood artist.

It would be interesting to point out that if the non-Germans were forced to leave, many Germans would leave too. Some would leave in protest, others would leave for emotional reasons and others would leave because they seek out cultural diversity. Germany has a hard time retaining their educated masses as it is. Most well-qualified Germans I know would leave for the USA tomorrow if they had a green card.

While German society is relatively well-organized, many non-Germans I know sacrifice sunny weather and good food to be here for economic reasons. Sending me back to my tropical country of origin would actually increase the quality of my daily life but the old Germans in my building who largely rely on foreigner workers to care for them would suffer greatly.

I think it may be a traditional German stance to think they are giving more than they get. I hear complaints about the West by people from the former East and vice versa and they always have the same theme. "They are taking too much." I imagine facts have little to do with this feeling and it is rooted in German history.
14:17 June 20, 2012 by IchBinKönig

'In short, if you want to believe in "lazy Turks" (or any specific group) that's what you'll believe you see.'

and you day

'Just as we a seeing in the US right now, where rhetoric and bombast, based entirely upon pre-conceived notions and traditional bigotry and bias,'

Well, if that's what you want to believe. But it is far from true. But I guess Illegal Immigrants are only deported in the US.
14:41 June 20, 2012 by Omufu
@ injira (or anyone who can answer) ...

Why is it that so many / most well-qualified Germans want to leave? As a foreigner I just don't get it. Germany has a lot going for it. Any idea? An answer really would be helpful for something I'm involved in.

14:43 June 20, 2012 by ND1000
@woodartist, great post. Well thought out and I believe correct. I would like to comment that with foreigners absent, a good portion of Germans would eventually turn on each other. I seems some people are always looking for a someone to blame for their problems.
14:47 June 20, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Saying you want to leave and actually leaving are two entirely different things. 99% will never act on this want.
14:55 June 20, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:37 June 20, 2012 by kafupo
@ Omufu: Germany does not have anything to offer for qualified people. If you have a college degree, you will end up spending many years moving around and doing temp work, since nobody wants to give you a permanent position (not just in academia, but also in industry, because work laws are so strict that companies are worried they can't fire you if they want to). If you dared on to get a PhD, you are even worse off, since then you are old, considered too academic, and have to start doing your temp work years about 5 years later than others, at the salary level of people 5 years younger. - Also, are you aware, that on the one hand Germany is claiming to be "desparately" looking for engineers and other specialists in technical fields? And since they are so "desperate", they are now allowing recruitment of these specialists from abroad for a salary of 34000 Euro/year (
15:42 June 20, 2012 by MrPC
@ woodartist

The muticulti dream is unavoidable so if we are all going to be screwed we might as well relax and enjoy it? Thanks but no thanks. Entropy might be on your wish list but my kids deserve better.
15:42 June 20, 2012 by Eagle1
Agree with Konig. What is Wood Artist talking about?

No one in the U.S. is promoting the removal of non-Caucasians from the country. Most of us simply want other Americans, regardless of race, (1) to work hard, (2) not to become long-term wards of the state, and (3) not to break the law. Unfortunately, certain definable populations in the U.S. seem unwilling or unable to follow these guidelines, and that creates frustration for those who do.
15:42 June 20, 2012 by kafupo
So after 10+ years of college education to become an engineer, in Germany you will be offered to work for the next couple of years on temp contracts at a salary of less than $45000 Euros... (Whereas your plumber or electrician charges usually far more than your own hourly rate.)
17:42 June 20, 2012 by paulspookys
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:44 June 20, 2012 by kafupo
@ paulspookys: This does not just apply to foreigners, but to most Germans as well. In Germany, qualification matters actually very little, it is about who you know and if the boss feels like having a beer with you. (Check some German forums on trial runs of US-style job applications, focused on professional qualifications instead of foto, family status etc. People will ask seriously: "How then I am supposed to find out if that person is suited for the job"!!!) Of course, as a foreigner, you usually don't know anyone worth while within Germany, so you are screwed... But as a German who has moved, spent some time abroad, on family leave, or "networked" in the wrong place (e.g., doing everything right for years only within your company, and then that company goes broke), you are in exactly the same fix....
19:06 June 20, 2012 by PNWDev

(Just as we a seeing in the US right now, where rhetoric and bombast, based entirely upon pre-conceived notions and traditional bigotry and bias, the facts are probably not important.)

You fail to tell your sheep that the rhetoric is about people who illegally came to the USA. When you pay terrorists a ransom, you encourage more. When you don¦#39;t hold foreign nationals accountable for illegally entering or staying in the country, you encourage more.

The issue has nothing to do with immigrants, but rather everything to do with people who come to the U.S. in violation of America¦#39;s sovereign laws by entering illegally. That¦#39;s the issue; now focus on the facts next time.


Well done my friend, a contrarian after my own heart. One who is not afraid to stand up and call attention to a very selective part of the story WA tells. See how easy a cutesy speech gains followers? And it worked too. A page right out of the Obama diaries - does not matter the truth of the content, or even an understanding of it, just the way the speech is delivered.

@Eagle 1

Amen. American¦#39;s don¦#39;t hate immigration, they hate illegal immigration. The majority of non-white immigrants to the U.S. who came legally are hard-working and very, very successful. They support the system, they don¦#39;t suck the life from it.
19:45 June 20, 2012 by Englishted
Some interesting and diverse comments .

WA as normal fights his corner well and reasonably, I however disagree with some of his points ,the World is indeed becoming more global but I think because of the people pushing the agenda the citizens of planet Earth (regardless of creed or colour) are going down a slippery slope.

We have all seen and heard I am sure of global firms closing factories in one country to open it up in a cheaper place ,but in the long run who but a few directors and shareholders gain from it? ,I know that in the short time it creates jobs in a poor place but there is always going to be another cheaper place even if it the original country that is now bankrupt as all its jobs were "outsourced " .

The politicians of many countries are now powerless in the face of this threat (German and G.M. for example) and if our elected representatives are hogtied where does that leave us ?.

I am also sad to say that I have yet to see multiculturalism living up to its own ideals maybe some who knows.
19:51 June 20, 2012 by paulspookys
@kafupo: This a very comfortable and intelligent excuse that every German makes whenever they are asked such question. Germans with much lesser qualifications are often choosen for the job, this is true. It is basically a zenophobic country, hiding under pseudo multi-kulti. You will perhaps never see a non-eu Prof. in Germany.In USA it is much better.
20:55 June 20, 2012 by DinhoPilot

I think it's because US degrees or anything else than Europe are inferior to German degrees. ^^ So if you studied in US, they won't regard it as a highly quality degree (except for MIT, Harvard, Princeton, etc...). The same goes degrees outside of germany. They just see their degrees as higher. If you study in Germany, than there is a chance in landing in a job easily.
21:08 June 20, 2012 by catjones
The book's premise is irrational and could be applied to any country; perhaps to any group at any time. Not only did native Americans feel the intrusion of the white foreigners, but they felt the intrusion of other foreign tribes. I've know germans who consider germans from the Sudetenland to be foreigners as do east vs west germans. You can't get rid of outsiders; there is no Purity only intellectual laziness and scapegoating.
21:50 June 20, 2012 by DinhoPilot
Right wing extremism is growing rapidly in USA. Soon US will become a new nazi regime.
22:04 June 20, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Immigrants that can be integrated and ultimately assimilated into a country are always an asset; however large blocs that cannot be digested and instead turn into ghettos within the host state are not. Similarly, swamping a country with too many immigrants from many different lands alters a country in an irreversible manner and only serves to dilute the indigenous people`s sense of solidarity and identity.

This is the globalists` plan. It is also wood artist`s dream. That`s the point. Idealists drive the agenda and the puppet masters fine tune things as they progress. Pick an issue- the Green movement, for example, it`s all the same...

The globalist agenda is to weaken and ultimately abolish the nation state. At the 1966 Bilderberg Conference, for example, the elites expressed their concern that nationalism was a hindrance to furthering their plans for a world governed by supra-national organizations. According to them, nation states have to go. Just look around you. Respect for the sovereignty of the nation state is at a nadir.

Military interventions by NATO and the UN are ostensibly to protect or advance the `dignity` and `freedom` of religious groups, sects, ethnic minorities, enclaves, or whatever within the victim state. This is the excuse put forth in order to fracture the target nation state into parts that can be more easily controlled from the outside.

In the same way, these groups are manipulated within a country when it is useful for them to serve as a distraction or as a means to create disharmony within the nation state. The Brievik case is a prime example of this.

I am not a cynic but a realist. Nothing happens by accident.
22:36 June 20, 2012 by puisoh
It is somehow funny that I have never heard the Thais, the Philipinos or Asians in general complaining about too many white-skinned/foreign people in their country, could it be a matter of mindset and tolerance? That the Caucasians simply have a superioirty complex (like Hilfiger said his designs are for white people) and at the same time denying reality, that they just cannot handle EVERYTHING on their own.

BTW, whoever said 'he will leave for the US if he has a green card tomorrow' .... don't think so highly of the US anymore, it is not what it used to be like 40years ago, the American dream is long lost, if anything at all, it is heading straight in the direction of a police-state. Wake up people, wake up!!
01:11 June 21, 2012 by federale86
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:20 June 21, 2012 by kafupo
@ paulspookys: To me it's certainly more than an excuse. I got a diploma in Germany, then went on to get a PhD at a very decent (though not Ivy League) US university. I had no problems finding and keeing a good and well-payed job in the US after I graduated. But since I made the mistake to return to Germany (family reasons...), I have been on low- and lower-paid temp jobs, lost a job (against my boss' desperate pleas to higher up) simply for "being among the least senior", etc. Saw my fellow "least senior" ex-colleagues being hired elsewhere in Germany through their personal contacts, while my US contacts are obviously of little use here. Like you, I also see plenty of incompetent people here with very comfortable, safe jobs, but they are for me as much beyond reach as for most foreigners without the right connections...
15:10 June 21, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ injira: Why should highly qualified Germans go to the U.S., a country in which more than 80 million people are poor and more and more simply can't afford anymore to receive decent medical treamtment or to be more precise need to choose between buying medicals or buying food for their family.

All the highly qualified young Europeans are heading to Germany, Brazil and China at the moment and this won't change that fast.

Best regards
23:11 June 21, 2012 by vertigo912
Hey, The Local, can you please refrain from posting the stereotypical Muslim-woman-with headscarf photo whenever we have a conversation about immigrants? You do realize this is a small majority, right? And it only inflames the xenophobia? Thanks.
15:16 June 22, 2012 by Charles Norrie
There is something a little odd an inward looking about Germany. A first generation Brit (e.g. Winston Churchill, who was only half British, or the Duke of Edinburgh who is a Greek of German extration behaves and is treated as if he is entirely English. It seems not to be the same in Germany and thrid generation Turkish immigrants are still Turks, and presumably are expceted to do the humble jobs that germans won't do.

Ut is odd, very, very odd.

Charles Norrie
18:21 June 22, 2012 by Eijnar
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:47 June 22, 2012 by joetke
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
03:28 June 23, 2012 by soros
Books like this skewer the facts in their political directions just as Sarazin's did in his. This is another case of alarmism. The point isn't whether fewer foreigenrs will impoverish Germany. The point is What kind of Germany do people want? Should a question like this be purely decided on economics of culture?

Have a look at cities like Toronto. They have no national character. It's all a hodgepodge of cultures; each in its ethnic enclave. Yes, there is some mixing, but not enough to produce a Canadian culture.

The French Canadians in Quebec have asserted their culture and so far show no signs of suffering economically for it, although initially there was a reaction by big business back in the 1970s.

European countries swamped with foreigners need to decide how much prosperity they are willing to sacrifice if foreign workers were to leave. Perhaps the trade off for a stronger German way of life would be worth it. If the country is a real democracy such a decision should not be made by government or industry alone, but by plebiscite.
12:59 June 25, 2012 by strahlungsamt
The problem with Germans is they're too busy being unemployed or working as civil servants to actually get out and work. All the idiots screaming "Auslander Raus" never wanted any of the crappy jobs that I took. And I was living better than any of them were and paying taxes into their Sozialhilfe.

The real problem with Germany is that the young don't want to work. So they need to import foreigners to mop the floors and wash the dishes. Then, a generation later, the second generation foreigners have full entitlement to welfare, don't want to work so Germany needs more foreigners. Add to that the aging German population (since they never want more than 2 kids, if that many) and they need still more foreigners since no German will do anything.

Hartz was a move in the right direction except, being Germans, they totally botched it for everyone. Forcing social welfare people into work is a good thing. Turning paid jobs into minijobs isn't.

So, in conclusion, if Germans want to stop the flow of immigrants, get off your fat arschlocher and go to work and quit complaining. Oh, and try making babies somethime.
03:36 June 26, 2012 by MrPC
Nah, just stop the flow of immigrants and the cost of labor will rise making the jobs attractive once again germans themselves. The world doesn't need more babies, its needs reduced materialistic wastage and expectations to concentrate on the important aspects of life - clean air and water, good food and a healthy respect for for living space, land and life without overcrowding.
20:40 July 2, 2012 by wires
As described in another comment, the nation state is becoming more redundant. On the other hand, sub-groups and cultures are receiving more attention. There are the said economic and political forces at work here.

I doubt any sizable amount of Germans would like to rid themselves of ALL foreigners. A great number of Germans themselves have foreign immigrant roots: in Berlin many have Polish and Huguenot family names (i.e. Wowereit).

In reference to conflicts Germany and other magnet countries may have with some immigrant groups, these problems are rooted in contrary cultural and religious ideas and customs that are deemed antiquated and even reactionary, which make integration more difficult.
20:08 July 6, 2012 by Dylan Kay Webster
Excellent article and comments. Parallel to issues in the USA, as stated. Already because of tightening restrictions on hiring illegal immigrants some farmers and orchardists in the Pacific Northwestern part of the USA, and no doubt elsewhere, are unable to find enough workers willing and able to do the physically and mentally demanding labor of harvesting crops. Thus the food supply is impacted.

It's unthinkable what would happen if this and other essential services most citizens have no stamina for was to become again the responsibility of only citizens. When I was a child, the fruit crops were harvested by men who hopped the cargo trains, and traveled around the country following the harvests. We called them "winos" or "bums" because they often set up camps by the tracks and spent their evenings drinking cheap wine. At least this was the general stereotype. (This, long before the wine industry as it is today in the Northwest)

Later, in the 60's this work was done largely by "hippies." I can remember them coming to our little apple-rich town, some of them settling in the hills with gardens and goats and herbal remedies and forbidden substances and somewhat undefined relationships.

Then came the Hispanic group from mostly from Mexico. They have become an essential part of the work force, increasingly enriching society as they have integrated and contribute so much more than service labor.

When I was in my early teens, my father of German descent decided I needed the work experience of thinning apples as he had done in the 1930's when he worked in the orchards to earn money for college, and later medical school. He arranged a job for me with a friend of his who owned a large orchard.

It was sheer torture, getting up at dawn, climbing ladders and using thumb and two fingers in the technique required to quickly snap off the smaller apples in a cluster, leaving the larger ones space and nutrients to grow into the fine apples the state of Washington is known for. In the early morning, my fingers were numb with the cold, and later in the day as the sun beat down, my energy dragged, and I dreaded another day of the same.

Fortunately this thinning process lasts only a few weeks, and the next summer my Dad hired me in his medical clinic. But the experience provided me with understanding of the demands of this work, and appreciation for the energy and resilience of the people involved in getting food from the earth to the table. Unfortunately they are too often not treated with the respect and compensation they need and deserve.
08:55 July 9, 2012 by willie Lynch
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:19 July 17, 2012 by lewis69
This article is simply more bias left leaning propaganda from The Local that we always see. none of the outlandish claimes made in this book or this article can be proven. The idea that the whole economy would crumble with out immigrants is false.

Yes some tempoary workers are necessary for agricultural reasoans and fast food joints but the idea that we need 7 million forigners is just crazy.
10:39 July 18, 2012 by raandy
Immigration rhetoric is always a favorite with the tree huggers,way cool wood artist :-)
13:18 July 23, 2012 by Dyderich
The German Issue can be easily solved:

Stop working for the State, stay at home, receive your Social benefits and start screwing like rabbits.

After you have 15 or 30 kids, ensure that each and every one of your children are then sent off to other countries in order to do the same....enjoy the social benefits, breed like rabbits and start another cycle of this. If we are smart enough, we may eventually get the entire globe repopulated properly if we adhere to this regimen.

Other cultures have already figured this out and are adapting their people into this....look around and check to see what culture prides itself in leaving its nest, taking over a new area, expanding its influence and contiuing on....all the while soaking up what social benefits there are to support its own social group while never bothering to integrate into the current country's culture.

Its a time proved solution to many problems
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