New AJC Survey Finds Negative Attitudes Towards Jews Widespread in Germany
New AJC Survey Finds Negative Attitudes Towards Jews Widespread in Germany|
December 15, 2002 - NEW YORK -- Negative attitudes towards Jews are widespread in German society today, though keeping the memory of the Holocaust strong has grown, according to a new American Jewish Committee survey.
For the American Jewish Committee, which maintains an office in Berlin, this is the third survey conducted in Germany since German unification in 1990. The new survey examines German attitudes towards Jews, Holocaust remembrance, and the global war against terrorism.
Nearly 60 years after the Holocaust, substantial percentages of Germans voice negative feelings towards Jews. The German Jewish community totals about 98,000 in a country with a total population of more than 82 million. Among the negative attitudes:
On Holocaust remembrance, the survey found that the need for continuing Holocaust education is both needed and welcome.
Only 43 percent of Germans know that the Nazis killed six million Jews during World War II, though that finding represents an improvement over the 1994 survey when 36 percent correctly cited the 6 million figure. While the trend toward more specific knowledge is positive, more than half of all Germans cannot correctly cite the number of Jews killed by the Nazis. Furthermore, only 37 percent of Germans under the age of 30 can correctly identify this information, as compared to 45 percent of those over 30.
65 percent of Germans think that teaching about the Nazi extermination of Jews should be required in the German school curriculum, while 22 percent say it should not.
Broad majorities of Germans do favor maintaining the memory of the Holocaust, but there still is significant opposition to this position. Support among the younger generation, now the third and fourth generations to come of age since the end of World War II, is nearly as strong as among the population at large.
Conspiracy theories, the survey found, abound, even in Germany, a close ally of the United States. Thus, nearly one in five Germans believes that American intelligence services took part in the September 11 terror attacks, and only 49 percent say it is not possible.
With regard to relations between the United States and Germany at present, only 1 percent sees them as very good, 31 percent as good, 48 percent as not that good, and 10 percent as bad.
The survey, carried out from October 8-25 for the American Jewish Committee by Intratest, a leading German public opinion research organization, has a margin of error is plus or minus three percent.