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Anti-semitism is No Longer a Problem in Germany, Adenauer Declares

November 25, 1958
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In an exclusive interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany, has expressed the view that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in West Germany and explained his hopes of achieving a “reconciliation” between the German and the Jewish peoples and His working toward a “normalization” of relations between West Germany and Israel. The interview, in the form of questions and answers, follows:

Question: What does the Chancellor think of the status of anti-Semitism in the German Federal Republic?

Answer: I am convinced that there is today no anti-Semitism in the Federal Republic. The anti-Semitic pestilence which poisoned relations between the Jews and Germans during the Hitler regime was a temporary development restricted to National Socialism.

Certainly, from time to time some individual instances of anti-Semitic utterances are reported in and knocked about by the German press. But these occurrences are few and should not be generalized upon. I am certain that the German people as a whole disapprove of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic discrimination or excesses.

You probably know that the Federal Government has made it an item of its program to achieve reconciliation between the Jews and the German people. Not only did we sign and fulfill the restitution agreement but for all our Jewish fellow-citizens who returned to Germany we also created bases for them to feel they are full citizens and so to become accustomed to life in Germany. Not only through laws, but through measures of enlightenment such efforts have proven really successful.

In conclusion, let me say again: here and there a single case of anti-Semitic attitude may be observed, but in the main there is neither a mass appearance of anti-Semitism nor danger of it in Germany today. That doesn’t exist anymore.


Question: What are the prospects for relations between Israel and the Federal Republic?

Answer: From the very beginning, it has been one of the targets of the Federal Republic’s policy to achieve a reconciliation between the German and Jewish people. From the beginning, the Federal Government knew very well that such an aim would not be easily achieved in view of the terrible, monstrous crimes against the Jews of which the regime which fell in 1945 had been guilty.

To manifest as rapidly as possible its goodwill in speedy and visible form, the Federal Republic was interested in material restitution and signed the well known agreement of September 1952 with Israel, and caused the adoption of restitution laws which were already in preparation.

The Federal Government hoped that in doing so, it would create an atmosphere whose beneficial effects would spread beyond the scope of these actions. This hope was not false. Relations between Israel and the German Republic have improved visibly.

However, the final aim–complete normalization of relations on both sides–has not yet been achieved. We must and will always keep in view this aim. We shall work for its realization patiently and indefatigably.


Replying to a question whether the Federal Republic will do everything necessary with regard to discussion and getting down to the problem of the years 1933-45, Dr. Adenauer said:

“Just as there is no anti-Semitism worth mentioning in the German Federal Republic, so there exists no longer National Socialism. Each Parliamentary election has shown that the adherents of right-radical groups at the most never amount to more than one or two percent of the constituency taken as a whole. Furthermore, I must stress the ‘time’ factor. In spite of the fact that the German people still have to carry the heavy burden of the consequences of National Socialism, that disastrous period is already in the past for as long as the period that it existed. Meanwhile, youth have grown up who do not at all remember the time of National Socialism.”

Dr. Adenauer said it was “very interesting and often, noted, that the growing generation shows no, or very little, understanding when Hitler’s name is mentioned. All this leads to the conclusion–and rightly-that National Socialism has been nothing but an unbelievably frightful event, the happening of which can be explained only through the terrible suffering and misery which followed the First World War. Today, our politics of collaboration, known to us in the West, also provides the German people with sufficient work and bread, a fact that I believe to be the simplest and by far the most effective means to defeat National Socialism forever.”

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