New German citizenship exam roils Jews

German Jews are asking why a proposed citizenship exam omits questions about the Holocaust.

Stephan Kramer, the secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement Wednesday he was shocked to learn that the interior ministry’s new test includes 320 questions related to German history and society, but that “the word ‘Holocaust’ is not mentioned once.”

The omission “reveals an unusual concept of history,” Kramer said, adding that the interior ministry seemed to think it unimportant for new immigrants to confront the crimes of National Socialism.

Kramer said the Central Council appreciated the work that went into designing a single test for all applicants for German citizenship, incorporating suggestions from many groups.

The questionnaire, which will be introduced in September, was designed by the Institute for Educational Progress at Berlin’s Humboldt University on behalf of the 16 German states.

Kramer said he also found it unacceptable that “Judaism is simply left out” as an answer in the question on which religion most influenced European and German culture. Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and
Islam are given as possible answers.

The questionnaire, he said, “comes close to being an ideological distortion because by leaving out facts you create a false image of history.”

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