German Attitudes Toward Jews, The Holocaust and the U.S

German Attitudes Toward Jews, The Holocaust and the U.S

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Introduction

The data reported here are from the third American Jewish Committee-sponsored survey conducted in Germany since German unification. The first, carried out in October 1990, was a pioneering undertaking comparing West German and East German views about Jews, Israel, and remembrance of the Holocaust. The second, conducted in January 1994, focused on two lines of research of special interest to the American Jewish Committee -- attitudes toward Jews and other minorities in various countries and knowledge and remembrance of the Holocaust in different countries.

The new German survey examines issues of concern to Jews in the current German context by focusing on three areas: attitudes toward Jews; Holocaust remembrance; and the war against terrorism. The present study repeats a number of questions from the 1990 and 1994 AJC probes; at the same time, it includes a plethora of new items.

The new German survey was carried out for the American Jewish Committee by Infratest, a leading German public-opinion research organization. In conducting the survey, Infratest interviewed face to face 1,250 respondents -- including 994 former West Germans and 256 former East Germans -- during October 8 – 25, 2002. Those interviewed constitute a representative national sample of German men and women, fourteen years of age and older. The findings can be reported for the sample as a whole, as well as by gender, age, education, and region. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus three percentage points.

German Attitudes Toward Jews, The Holocaust and the U.S.

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A. Holocaust

1. Approximately how many Jews in all of Europe were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War?

25,000   0
100,000   3
1 million   8
2 million   12
6 million   43
20 million   7
DK/NA   27

 

2. In your view, how important is it for all Germans to know about the Nazi extermination of the Jews during the Second World War - is it essential, very important, only somewhat important, or not important?

Essential   27
Very important   45
Only somewhat important   16
Not important   4
DK/NA   8

3. Some people say that more than 50 years after the end of the Second World War, it is time to put the memory of the Nazi extermination of the Jews behind us. Others say that we should keep the remembrance of the Nazi extermination of the Jews strong even after the passage of time. Which opinion comes closer to your opinion?



Put memory of the extermination of Jews behind us   29
Keep remembrance of the extermination of Jews strong   59
DK/NA 12

4. Some people claim that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened. Have you ever heard this claim, or not?

Heard this claim   61
Have not heard this claim   33
DK/NA   6

5. Does it seem possible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened, or do you feel certain that it happened?

Seems possible it never happened 2
Feel certain it happened 89
DK/NA 9

6. Do you think that teaching about the Nazi extermination of the Jews during the Second World War should be required in the German school curriculum?

Yes   65
No   22
DK/NA   13

7. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Jews are exploiting the memory of the Holocaust for their own purposes"

Strongly agree   20
Somewhat agree   32
Somewhat disagree   20
Strongly disagree   10
DK/NA   18

8. The German parliament has authorized the building of a national Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Do you approve or disapprove of this decision?

Approve   49
Disapprove   27
DK/NA   24


 

9. Are you proud to be a German?

Very proud   18
Rather proud   42
Not very proud   18
Not at all proud   9
DK/NA   13

 

B. Attitudes Toward Jews

1. I am going to name some ethnic groups and nationalities. Please tell me whether you would like to have these groups as neighbors, if it wouldn't make any difference to you, or if you would prefer not to have them as neighbors.

  Like to
have
Wouldn't
Matter
Perfer not Not
sure
West Germans 18 72 8 2
East Germans 22 67 9 2
Gypsies 5 32 58 5
Arabs 6 44 43 7
Vietnamese 11 58 25 6
Jews 13 65 17 5
Turks 10 57 30 3
Italians 18 69 10 3
Poles 10 59 26 5
Africans 11 57 26 6

2. Do any of the following groups behave in a manner which provokes hostility toward them in our country? (MULTIPLE ANSWERS ALLOWED)

West Germans 1
East Germans 4
Gypsies 22
Arabs 23
Vietnamese 4
Jews 6
Turks 29
Italians 2
Poles 11
Africans 9
None (vol.) 31
DK/NA 20

3. Do you feel that the following groups have too much influence, too little influence, or the right amount of influence in our society?

  Too
much
Too
little
Right
amount
None
(Vol.)
Not
sure
Intellectuals 16 24 36 4 20
Big business 68 5 15 1 11
Labor unions 32 26 29 2 11
The media 70 5 16 1 8
Banks 61 4 22 2 11
Americans 51 4 24 4 17
The churches 22 16 39 7 16
Jews 20 6 32 15 27
Political parties 42 10 35 2 11

4. Do you think that anti-Semitism in Germany is currently a very serious problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem at all?

Very serious problem   17
Somewhat of a problem   43
Not a problem at all   30
DK/NA   10

5. Looking ahead over the next several years, do you think that anti-Semitism in Germany will increase greatly, increase somewhat, remain the same, decrease somewhat, or decrease greatly?

Increase greatly   9
Increase somewhat   26
Remain the same   41
Decrease somewhat   7
Decrease greatly   1
DK/NA   16

6. a. Have you ever been witness to anti-Semitic statements or actions in Germany?

Yes   18
No   75
DK/NA   7

6.b. If yes: Where? (MULTIPLE ANSWERS ALLOWED)

In the family   6
Among friends   27
At work   17
On Internet   6
On the street   46
At political rallies   15
Newspapers and television   26


7. Are your own feelings about Jews strongly positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, strongly negative, or neutral?

Yes   26
No   39
DK/NA   35

8. In your view, are the feelings of the German people about Jews strongly positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, strongly negative, or neutral?

Strongly positive   0
Somewhat positive   13
Somewhat negative   25
Strongly negative   2
Neutral   48
DK/NA   12

9. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Many people in Germany are afraid to express their true feelings about Jews."

Strongly agree   24
Somewhat agree   35
Somewhat disagree   15
Strongly disagree   9
DK/NA   17

10. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Now, as in the past, Jews exert too much influence on world events."

Strongly agree   14
Somewhat agree   26
Somewhat disagree   21
Strongly disagree   17
DK/NA   22

11. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Jews in Germany have too much influence on public opinion in our country."

Strongly agree   9
Somewhat agree   18
Somewhat disagree   26
Strongly disagree   26
DK/NA   21

12. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "The Jews are responsible for killing Christ."

Strongly agree   6
Somewhat agree   8
Somewhat disagree   14
Strongly disagree   36
DK/NA   36

13. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Jews have made vital contributions to the development of German science and culture."

Strongly agree   29
Somewhat agree   32
Somewhat disagree   10
Strongly disagree   5
DK/NA   24

14. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Money plays a more important role for Jews than for other people."

Strongly agree   20
Somewhat agree   25
Somewhat disagree   16
Strongly disagree   17
DK/NA   22

15. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Jews are motivated by feelings of revenge more so than others."

Strongly agree   11
Somewhat agree   24
Somewhat disagree   20
Strongly disagree   21
DK/NA   24

16. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "The Jews are to blame for their own misfortune."

Strongly agree   3
Somewhat agree   9
Somewhat disagree   25
Strongly disagree   42
DK/NA   21

17. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "Jürgen Möllemann deserves credit for taking on the Central Council of Jews in Germany."

Strongly agree   9
Somewhat agree   14
Somewhat disagree   24
Strongly disagree   31
DK/NA   22

18. a. Do you personally know anyone who is Jewish?

Yes   21
No   79

18. b. If yes: "In what context?"

In the family   5
Among your friends   26
Among your acquaintances   44
At work   8
Elsewhere   17

 

C. War on Terrorism

1. How do you see relations between the United States and Germany at present? Are they very good, good, not that good, or bad?

Very good   1
Good   31
Not that good   48
Bad   10
DK/NA   10

2. How do you see the United States led war on terrorism? Do you think the United States is taking into account the interests of its allies in the fight against terrorism, or do you think the United States is acting mainly on its own interests?

Taking into account the interests of its allies   11
Acting mainly on its own interests   77
DK/NA   12

3. In your opinion, has the German government been too supportive of United States policies on the war against terrorism, not supportive enough, or has the German government taken about the right position?

Too supportive   10
Not supportive enough   9
About right   67
DK/NA   14

4. Do you favor or oppose the decision of the United States after September 11 to begin a war against terrorism?

Favor   63
Oppose   24
DK/NA   13

5. Some people claim that American intelligence services took part in the September 11 attacks. Do you think that this is possible?

Yes   16
No   49
DK/NA   35

 

6. What stance should Germany take with regard to possible military action against Iraq? Should Germany not participate in any way, should Germany participate only in the framework of a United Nations mission, or should Germany participate under all circumstances?

Not participate in any way   38
Participate in framework of United Nations   49
Certainly participate   4
DK/NA   9

7. Do you believe that Jewish influence on American politics is a significant factor in the planned U.S. military action against Iraq?

Yes   26
No   39
DK/NA   35

8. Do you think that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the West?

Yes   58
No   20
DK/NA   22

9. How do you rate the cultural achievement of the United States? Do you think that it is very substantial, substantial, hardly substantial, insubstantial?

Very substantial   6
Substantial   30
Hardly substantial   33
Insubstantial   15
DK/NA   16
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