Xenophobia on the Rise Among German Youth, Study Says | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 17.03.2009
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Xenophobia on the Rise Among German Youth, Study Says

The kids are not all right -- that's the finding of a recent survey of young Germans. Particularly worrisome is a rise in hostility toward foreigners. But Germany's interior minister also sees reason for hope.

Young people in Chemnitz

The study says youths in eastern Germany are much more likely to be hostile to foreigners

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and the director of the institute that carried out the study, Christian Pfeiffer, presented it to the public in Berlin on Tuesday, March 17.

Entitled "Young People in Germany as Victims and Perpetrators of Violence," the study surveyed attitudes on a variety of issues among 45,000 ninth-graders.

The survey found that one in every seven young Germans, or 14.4 percent, could be considered "very hostile to foreigners." And just under 30 percent responded in the affirmative when asked whether they thought whether there were too many foreigners in Germany.

The study also found that 4.9 percent of male respondents were affiliated with far-right groups -- far more than were involved in mainstream German politics.

"It's terrible that the Far Right has more success attracting young males than the established political parties," Pfeiffer told reporters. Schaeuble said he was "shocked" by the results.

In addition, 6.4 percent of young males gave answers that suggested they held antisemitic views.

Silver lining?

Schaeuble talks to Muslim school children

Schaeuble says the study does have a bright side

But the news from the study, which was done by the Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute, was not all bad.

The institute found that today's German youth was no more violent than past generations.

"It needs to be particularly stressed that, in contrast to the public perception, violence among young people has either slightly declined or remained steady in the cities we've looked at since 1998," Pfeiffer said.

Schaeuble said the study had given him reason for optimism.

The interior minister said the results included "a lot of reasons to act" but that they also engendered "the feeling that it is worth taking action."

Still, the study recorded a slight rise in serious cases of violence.

4.8 percent of respondents said they had been the victims of serious acts of violence.

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