German study confirms path of extremism


A new study confirms that far-right views have slipped into the center of German society.

The study released Wednesday by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation suggests that immigrant communities and economically disadvantaged populations in Germany are particularly likely to hold anti-Democratic views.

A conference Wednesday in Berlin looked at the results of the study, titled “A Look at the Center: On the Establishment of Right-Wing Extremist and Pro-Democratic Attitudes.”

The report was based on group interviews with 5,000 people who participated in the foundation’s 2006 study, which suggested that extremism was no longer a “fringe phenomenon.”

“Fear and the threat of exclusion are fertile ground for right-wing extremist views,” the new report concludes. “At the same time, xenophobic attitudes appear to be widespread in the German population, along with a lack of appreciation for democracy.”

Both studies were conducted by Oliver Decker and Elmar Brahler of the University of Leipzig for the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, a think tank associated with the Social Democratic Party.

The new study found that xenophobia appears increasingly even among those who did not express such views in the earlier report, and that democratic values and systems are devalued in these communities unless they guarantee individual prosperity.

Education about the crimes of National Socialism helps put a lid on right-wing tendencies, the study found.

Jewish leaders on Monday told a hearing of the Parliament’s domestic affairs committee that anti-Semitism in Germany’s immigrant communities must be scrutinized and combated. In a statement following the hearing, the Berlin Jewish community said it has been lobbying for an annual evaluation of German anti-Semitism along with the Coordinating Council of German Non-Governmental Organizations Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism.



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