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Germans Less Opposed to Jews Holding High Office, Poll Shows

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The World Jewish Congress today reported that a poll of 1,989 persons by a Frankfurt Institute of Public Opinion showed that on May 1961, 40 percent voiced serious misgivings against former Nazis being appointed to important civic posts; 16 percent were dead set against anyone who had left Germany during the Nazi period, and 18 percent opposed a Jewish nominee. Only 15 percent said they would have no misgivings about a Nazi but 33 percent claimed to be unconcerned if a Jew or a former emigrant was named or elected to a high federal post.

However, 22 percent offered no views insofar as Nazis were concerned, 26 percent no views about Jews, and 28 percent no views about former emigrants. “This indicated the possibility that the number of persons having misgivings about Jews was higher than the figures showed,” the WJC report said.

Persons expressing serious misgivings against all three groups increased according to their educational qualifications. The percentages regarding Jews were, for instance: serious misgivings–public school education only, 16 percent high school students, 20 percent; university, 24 percent; but “no misgivings” also increased with greater education–31 percent, 32 percent and 40 percent.

Party affiliations played no decisive role in the poll. As regards Jews, there were no important differences between members of various parties or persons with no party affiliation. Contrary to the usually accepted view that Berlin’s population is more liberal towards Jews, the poll showed that the city had the highest percentage of serious misgivings–41 percent, but also the lowest rate of “no misgivings.”

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