Germany Has Been Unified for 30 Years. Its Identity Still Is Not.

East Germans, bio-Germans, passport Germans: In an increasingly diverse country, the legacy of a divided history has left many feeling like strangers in their own land.

Comments: 118

  1. This shall pass. It was too obvious that industrial revolution of 19 century even before was going to lead to this , great mixing. This process cannot be reversed, Nazi's tried very hard , extremely hard, But no avail. So get used to everybody , this is the way it is , it was and it will be always. Great mixing.

  2. You’re putting 100 years of goofy neo-liberal fantasies about tapping into hordes of low skilled labor against more than a million years of hard wired, highly evolved, genetically driven preferences for one’s own family and tribe over that of strangers. I’m pretty sure it’s your fantasy that’s going to be the one that passes, my friend.

  3. I disagree. It is just how we describe the tribe. Once we mix enough we will be one big tribe. Look at Latin America, it is defined more by "tribe" than by "race". The people are far more accepting of mixing phenotypes because it is the norm, almost all have native American, Afro, or both with European.

  4. To put it another way, millions of years of evolution will not protect even the most ardent nationalists from the neoliberal fantasy of nuclear weapons, invented in America in part by the sorts of ethnic Germans who would not have been seen as sufficiently German in Germany.

  5. Is Germany "increasingly diverse"? I doubt it and I fear this widespread view provides support to the extreme rights. Before WWI, the cultural differences between inhabitants of Prussia and Bavaria were undoubtedly much greater than nowadays between inhabitants of Mecklemburg-Vorpommern and Bavaria. The same surely applies of the Swabians and Friseans. The point is that 19th century nationalism widespread the delusion of culturally uniform "nations". This has never existed except in the minds of people using the concept for driving people to wars. The German cultural space which rarely has been united in the past and which is not united today (part of Switzerland and Austria belong to that cultural space) always has been culturally diverse. The non-German contributions to this diversity are no more significant today in Germany than they were in, say, Prussia or Sudetenland (with its Slavic populations) before WWII or in Bavaria in the3 50es and 60es (with its Italian immigrant workers).

  6. No, I disagree „Germany [...], its reunification central to its dominant place in Europe.“ It’s obvious that (West-)Germany was relatively stronger before reunification. Look into the GDP and other figures.

  7. I support su's comments. An economically vibrant multicultural society will have tensions. I and many others think that this is worth it. Some find it intolerable. Other than one interviewee in this essay, I was struck by the absence of any discussion of the huge emigration, mostly of highly employable young people, from East to West right after the wall fell. I think that this was regrettable but probably unavoidable. The German people poured something like 3 trillion dollars into infrastructure rebuilding in the former East Germany, so it is difficult to say that the eastern regions were abandoned or neglected. Hopefully, this investment will pay off over the next few generations. However, like many parts of Ukraine, the economy is still not fully competitive. Finally, if tensions are inevitable then every democracy must have strong checks and balances to prevent a takeover by a minority calling themselves We The People. Germany showed that almost a century ago. The US and the UK are demonstrating milder versions of the syndrome right now.

  8. This essay was brilliant and thought-provoking when it originally appeared not long ago, and remains so. I find the thesis extraordinary. This time, the pictures also helped. I wish I could ask the author a question directly, but I will simply put it here anyway. Does the East/West divide predate 1945? Your analysis essentially starts with the different trajectories of East and West Germany after WWII, and the resulting differences after 1989. I see how these different trajectories go a long way in explaining much of what is happening in Germany culturally and politically today. But were there precursors to this divide going back to the Weimar Republic, or the Bismarck era, or the old Holy Roman Empire? I know just enough to ask the question, but not enough to answer it!

  9. @Paul C. McGlasson Not really. Bavaria had its own distinct culture, but otherwise this was a fascinating sociological experiment - you take essentially the same people, divide them into group A and group B and voila, in one generation you have two different identities that people hold dear. The millennials in the former East suffer from "ostalgie" even though they have no personal experience with DDR.

  10. @Paul C. McGlasson Much of what was East Prussia is now Poland. Stalin cut off the Eastern 3rd of Poland and replaced it with similar sized area on the Western side. He forcibly drove out the ethnic Germans and re-settled Poles there. The city of Gdansk, where Solidarity was born, that eventually brought down the Soviet Union, had be a completely German city called Danzig before the war.

  11. We are so fortunate in the United States that our ultimate identity is as a nation of immigrants; that anyone can become American, that our dream is open to all regardless of religion, ethnic origin, social class. We must build on this uniquely American proposition within the framework of legal and fair immigration as we shine to Europe as an example of a New World in opposition to the Old.

  12. @Jason McDonald The irony, Jason (speaking as an American living in Europe) is that even with these challenges around identity, in many Western European countries it is far easier for the "dream" to be accessed by people who are not born into the white majority. Europe has challenges but the middle class here is much more stable than in America and ladders of opportunity are far more accessible.

  13. @Jason McDonald You are describing some mythical ideal of the United States that is hardly the reality. We are more polarized and divided than we have ever been, and that polarization long pre-dated Trump and created him, not the other way around. Exactly the same tensions that Germany's migrant population is experiencing are being played out here with the Dreamers and our own Middle Eastern refugees. The right here, and not just the far right, is questioning and attempting to re-define what it means to be an American citizen. We are not "shining" to Europe as an example of anything -- to the contrary, the current German experience is simply mirroring our own. This is a crisis of liberal democracy and the West, not of individual countries. Parroting myths of American Exceptionalism only serves to exacerbate that crisis, not resolve it.

  14. But that is based on the original sin of the atrocities committed against the native Americans. It’s surely not hard to understand why people in countries with an indigenous population and long established monoculture become Ancy, with some Becoming full on rascist, in response to high levels of migration?

  15. True, what you describe reflects part of life in Germany today. But this is not the whole story. 1. Most people in Germany (speaking for the West) are still influenced by the "1933-1945 past", consciously or subconsciously. That is true also for the generations born after 1945. 2. Reports about the former East have to consider that there was major emigration before and after 1990 from the Eastern States which had lived through the German version of communism. 3. Any form of antisemitism has to be countered by intelligent, rather than obtrusive, education. 4. Talking about newcomers, it is unrealistic to expect that they are recognized as Germans. Like in the US, difference could become our strength. Having said that, I hasten to add that the acceptance of about 1.5 million refugees from many countries after 2015 has become a remarkable story. Many people gave time and help to the newcomers. Friendships have developed at a rate that by far exceeds that of "atrocities or negative behavior" vis-à-vis newcomers. This is my experience after 4 years of teaching them German. Some of the best students speak German very well today. There are many who are still struggling. Most of their children, initially attending special classes for a short time, do thrive in regular classes. There are exceptions which have to be acknowledged for a balanced report. I will continue to be optimistic, even in my hope that many of the refugees get the chance to return home under favorable conditions.

  16. I recently came back from a trip to Europe. In Barcelona, a Black waiter in a restaurant told us that he came from Ivory Coast. " I was born here, but I'm not from here" he said. When I asked why he did not identify as Spanish, he laughed and said that Spain is not the States. In Spain, citizenship does not determine identity. Apparently, Germany's problem is really Europe's problem.

  17. It’s a worldwide problem. The same thing happens in the US, Australia, China, Japan, etc. Nationalism is on the rise & we all need to be watchful. On the other hand, not all of Germany is like this. The western area of Mainz/Frankfurt is far more welcoming. I have German friends that have reached out to immigrants to welcome them & teCh them German. Many Germans realize they will need these folks as their population shrinks.

  18. Another division happened in the 40s. In south Asia. Hope there is a reunification of the Indian subcontinent. German reunification might be a good blue print for it. This is the only way to resolve the conflict and the growing strife.

  19. I am a citizen of two countries, and think that national identity is exaggerated: just look at how many articles NYTimes has had to write about the "other America" to explain how Trump won the election. Furthermore, I believe its importance is also exaggerated. I hate how the Olympics athletes are sorted by nation, when many of them are also multinational. Rather than focus on the inside-outsider status, we should work to soften boundaries between people. All of us are citizens of our shared planet. Only this consciousness will save us from climate change & other ills of nationalism.

  20. Join the club. I feel like a stranger in MY country. I certainly don't feel about it the way I did when I was younger and so much less aware. The U.S is a Jekyll and Hyde country, and I have no trust that it will ever be the refuge it was always meant to be. We should have taken the Soviet satellites under our wing and helped every one of them find their way to their new identity, and new self reliance. There should have been a kind of Marshall Plan, at that time. Instead, we just broke up the Union and walked away from the destruction, without a backward look. We're paying for that now.

  21. That a nation even exists attests to a people group’s “triumph” against most odds to survive, and thrive. To exist as a nation, a people must adhere to belief in their right as a tribe to maintain its identity distinct from others. Can a tribe or nation exist without actively perpetuating its identity as being unique and separate from another’s? Is there a saturation point at which a nation can no longer sustainably integrate or assimilate its minority members? As an ethnically-Korean American born and raised in the US, now living in South Korea for the first time in my 40s, I’m inhabiting murky territory about what it means to be a member of a nation. Like Antonia Adomako who feels German when abroad and less certain about her German-ness at home, I feel more American than I ever have, living abroad in the country of my forebears, whose fight to exist as Koreans throughout millennia of foreign invasions allowed my existence. I felt most “foreign” living in reputedly progressive American cities such as Boston and Portland, Oregon, having lived all over the US. I’m aware more than ever of the privilege that it is to be a participant in the American experiment, which for all its messiness and crimes, has availed me a worldview, freedom of thought, and opportunities that for many are out of reach.

  22. Excellent assessment of the nuances of being an American hyphenate. Like you, as an American-born Asian, I feel/felt most American during time spent living, working, traveling abroad. Growing up as a minority in America is not without bumps, and I always look forward to extended periods of time I can spend in other places around the world, but every stint abroad—no matter how wonderful—makes me feel fully American in the best ways possible and fully fortunate that my immigrant parents chose the United States as their adoptive country.

  23. Well, until a year ago I, married to a German and with German kids, was living in Germany - Frankfurt, to everyone exact: always one of the most “mixed” parts of the country. We were there for 10 years and, teaching English to students of all ages and in every possible kind of circumstance, I was able to come into contact with pretty much everything this article describes. However, because of it I was also able to witness the following: -little to no violence or animosity toward “the different”, which was mostly appraised as precisely that: different. Not necessarily bad. -an amazing and peaceful calm, a kind of acceptance which, I truly believe, is rooted in an ultimate faith and belief in their own system. A sort of “this too shall pass”. -So while you cannot expect an old nation and culture such as Germany (or any other European country) to as easily or quickly “assimilate” as a younger, newer one (the US, Canada, Argentina etc) overall, with time and calm, it DOES assimilate. As I witnessed: how so many first-generation German kids were as Germans as any other kids. Sometimes without even realizing it! -and lastly: that taking a long term view, overall it was actually easier for immigrants arriving in Germany to thrive than it is today in the US to achieve the so-called “American Dream”. Again, I believe this is due to the fact that society behaves as a whole, unified unity and that, by and large, most people believe in it.

  24. As someone who has made my home in Berlin, as a white American foreigner, I really like the way this article throws cold water on the idea that Germany is the modern, pluralistic, multicultural paradise that a lot of people here like to celebrate. I myself throw around the word "multi kulti" a lot when I talk about Germany, particularly to Americans who don't realize how diverse this country actually is until they come here. So it's really important to understand - particularly as white people who don't deal with racial discrimination on a daily basis - that when celebrate multiculturalism we don't always see what's behind the curtain. With all that said, I've long felt in reading NYT articles on Germany that there's a tendency to only tell the story of a rising German far right (which is a loud but still very small *minority* of Germans) without talking about the millions of people in Germany of all races who are working to define a much more inclusive modern German identity. We're going to talk about Chemnitz? How about the 'Wir Sind Mehr' (We Are More) rally in response last year that drew 10x as many people as the Far Right rallies? Or the Unteilbar (Indivisible) demonstrations in Berlin last year that brought 250k people into the streets to stand up for an open, inclusive Germany? It's important to be aware of the far right and to take that threat seriously. But there are many much larger countermovements in Germany that also deserve to have their stories told.

  25. @Matt Buccelli Exactly. And in mostly focusing on these rightwing trends (however critically), the NYT is unwittingly amplifying them (as with Trump in his most minimal tweet and move). In a sense this is stoking the fire.

  26. no surprises here having spent much time in berlin you can find first hand neighborhoods where turkish live apart from germans and certainly are not in the german mainstream and even merkal stated that turkish assimilation was a failure. the big question is could it happen again as stated in this article. i shudder to think. america may not be perfect but we are assimilating better then most in this world.

  27. In Germany, kinship and roots go back a thousand years and more. Thus the Germain people from Russia are given a preference for citizenship. Germany is not the US and we should stop attempting to judge it based on our experiences.

  28. @Robert Humans first evolved in Africa, and much of human evolution occurred on that continent. When we talk about kinship and roots, let's not forget where we all originally came from.

  29. Germany became a state in 1871, not that long ago. My grandfather's passport from Hess sits in a drawer in my home. The family railed against "those Prussians". And so it goes.

  30. Immigration nations are few. Germany still is not one of them. In most of her past, Germany has not even been a nation state. The identity of most Germans, I included, remains rooted in the region where their roots are. The dialects they speak remains their greatest identifier. I have been a Frankfurter all my life and will remain one. In that respect my feelings are pure. You can't beat the bonds with the place where you were born and bred: 'Heimat', meaning home. By contrast, my feelings about an elusive national identity are conflicted. Like many West Germans, I believe that reunification was too hastily done, a dissolving East Germany got short-shrift, but a hesitant Kohl faced with the mass exodus from the East did not know what else to do. History forced Germany's hand. Reunification only exacerbated the eternal struggle over what it means to be German. As to immigrants, Turks harbor strong feelings about their own national identity. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regularly travels abroad giving speeches in which he reminds expat Turks never to forget their country. To help with integration, Turkish children born in Germany are one of the rare exceptions allowed dual-citizenship. Alas, that path seems unpopular. Integration is a mutual process. Unlike the countries where recent refugees hail from, Germany is highly secular and liberal. How many Syrians will be able to assimilate remains to be seen. As the article points out, language is key. I wish them well.

  31. @Peter Melzer as an American I agree with you. Immigration only works when the immigrants accept their new country and assimilate fully. This shows the natural citizens that they want to be (fill in the country). As a white guy (light brown hair, blue eyes) if I were to move to Germany and make it my home I'd learn German and embrace the culture. You can't have it both ways...

  32. @Peter Melzer I think you missed the point of the article. If 1 in 4 people living in Germany has an immigrant background, it is in fact an immigrant nation. Furthermore people of Turkish descent wish to identify as German, however white Germans will not allow them to. Lastly the Syrian family tried to befriend Germans and was unable to. All of these facts in the article contradict the points you're trying to make. It would be valuable to look at why you believe these things even given evidence to the contrary.

  33. I find the tone of this article negative and depressing. Instead of looking at the many efforts to integrate immigrants all the bad examples are carved out and highlighted. Why not point to the positive things which happened as well as the 'great integrator' of soccer. Moreover the attack in my own backyard on a Synagog here in Poway in CA and in Pittsburg PA show the US that the so called 'great integration machinery' in our country is struggling just like Germanys.

  34. @Andreas, I don't think anyone is saying we don't have problems in the U.S. but it is disturbing that there are problems in Germany when most of the world thought they had turned away from their horrific past. I think the problem with East Germans is that they still have a loyalty to their communist background, even if subliminal. I have been reading a lot about German history during WWII. The East Germans who claim they were absolved of inhumane acts during the war truly weren't much better than the Nazis.

  35. @Katherine Cagle Very true, Katherine. In fact, the East-German postwar-teenies learned in history lesson (or rather brainwashing propaganda) that all the Nazis remained miraculously in West Germany after the War (where I was born and raised) while the East Germans became anti-fascists overnight. No wonder that most neo-Nazis are found in East Germany. There has never been a deep and honest examination of the ALL-German Nazi-past. Read my book "What did You Do in The War Daddy - Growing up German".) It's all in there. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HD0EDJY

  36. The USA is really a great integration machine because it never demanded that any one group had to adopt the customs of another. If you want to wear a headscarf to school or work, no one will look at you as unAmerican. I think that religious freedom coupled with a separation of church and state being guaranteed in the constitution made sure one group didn’t have the power to preach to or to control everyone else. We had a so-called fresh start which created a country free of the historical chains that bind to ensure an equal and just “nation” for all. A persons religious beliefs, economic caste and/or racial identity in this new land were no longer labels that could exclude or marginalize. Thank god when Europeans came to the new world they didn’t bring everything with them. At least not yet. A psychotic rich boy chose to run a successful political campaign using the same fear mongering and hatred that previous white nationalists had used in Europe. That Americans could be fooled into voting for such a maniac is beyond me. Especially considering the positive state of the economy.

  37. Very interesting article. Germany's Nazi and divided pasts makes it more acute, but it's the story of all Western democracies--including the US. Even with our 100+ year head start, we're still going through it. The groups that are declared "un" or "not" are simply changing. I backpacked through Eastern Europe and into Germany in 1992. The differences between the East and West were stark then; and it seems the contrast in German identities in those early years after reunification not only lingers but thrives. Back then--even in the West--the non-white people we met (one was an actor on a popular TV show) all whispered the same thing. If you're not white or if you're Jewish, you need to be careful where you go and with whom you interact. It seems that sentiment has now migrated into the open, which is the frustrating, dangerous, and sad part of the country's development.

  38. One could argue that Germany has never been really been unified since the first attempts at a confederation in 1836.

  39. Germany still has a long way to go but they ave done alot to mend this situation.

  40. A good article that accurately depicts the struggles of Germans who are descendants of migrants from Turkey and Eastern Europe. Their parents worked extremely hard and helped create the postwar economic boom called „Wirtschaftswunder“. The only problem is, there are also many immigrants in Germany who came in the 80s and 90s (and 2015) who belong to so called „Clans“, vast networks of families who are very successful in organized crime. Also, many immigrants post 2015 subscribe to versions of radical Islam, and deeply resent liberal open societies. These realities are almost as disturbing as the more or less anti-democratic and xenophobic „bio german“ populations who have a long way to go. The main difference USA-Germany is that mass immigration in Germany is often going straight into the welfare system, and that many left and green leaning Germans are self loathing and not good role models for positive and healthy patriotism. There is no „German dream“. USA, Australia and Canada are very successful tapping into the high skilled immigrants. Political correctness (suppression of the at least partly negative impact of mass immigration of low skilled people from violent world regions) also isn’t helping in Germany - there is a big divide now, because many citizens see the difference between what they are told to believe, and the sometimes very sobering reality on the ground. It really is very complex, more than this article descibes.

  41. @Relotius Just to bring it into perspective here: the crime rate in Germany is nowhere close to what we have here. You shouldn’t forget that...

  42. Wow! What an indictment of German rigidity 're' need to enforce a traditional cultural identity in these changing times, where we must assume a climate of tolerance, if not acceptance, of our different ethnicities...as a huge benefit, of our diversity as an enrichment of our spirit. As a German, I feel ashamed of this intolerance, even intolerant violence against 'the 'other', as if we should, arrogantly, pretend to be better or superior to anybody else. I know this predates Trump (as it happens, his grandfather was German), but I bring this vulgar bully to your attention, and conscience, because he is a proto-fascist as well, whose mantra is 'fear, hate and division', as shown in his persistent xenophobia and ethnic discrimination. This, as a reminder that we, the people, must educate ourselves on an ongoing basis, to prevent subconscious prejudices, counter to the beauty, and need, of integration and solidarity, and the practice of the 'golden rule' (do not do to others what you wouldn't want others do to you). We humans are social beings and depend on each other; always have; given than live is too short to begin with, shouldn't we enjoy it by being open-minded while we can?

  43. And another wrong number: “more than a million asylum seekers welcomed by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015”. No, approximately 850,000 were welcomed by Ms. Merkel. And this was the first time in my whole life that I was proud to be a German.

  44. @C. Ludwig ....i very much share that feeling! An act of humanity by a country that was responsible for the most horrific cruelties against humans just a few decades back.

  45. That’s bizarre. The Unites States used to take in millions and people didn’t think twice. Most still feel this way. If you think cultural differences are a good thing, as they should be, then Germans shouldn’t be too concerned with assimilation as the French are. Otherwise, are people going to live lives of frustration for these “outsiders” who were accepted without choice. As usual it’s not all about the bio-Germans. I think Merkel’s encouraging immigration from war torn countries was, ultimately, an arrogant folly. Instead of trying to bring peace to these countries, eliminating the need to escape in the first place, she encouraged a massive movement of people to a place that couldn’t, economically and culturally, even absorb them. Did Merkel and her supporters really think that middle class, educated Syrians wanted to become third class citizens in Europe? Do people think Syrian doctors want to drive taxis in Berlin? By and large no. Now that trump has left Syria to Russia’s universe I wonder if her middle class will ever be able to return. Because returning the immigrants to their homelands should be priority number one. We will have expanded our consciousness as a species once we Liberal Democrats can even discuss the issue of return without fear of appearing racist.

  46. Germany has a multi layered problem. First, East Germany did no go through the same re-democratization process that West Germany did. They were under Communism for 45 years with all that represents, let’s not forget. Secondly, layered over that are all the immigrants they have taken in, first from Turkey and now other countries. Integrating these people, let alone the East Germans, takes time.

  47. Ah, German identity! Was ist es? Germans have never known their identity. They always felt inferior to those to the West of themselves and therefore superior to those to the East of themselves. Those in their midst who had somewhat different characteristics, like Jews who had been in the Rhineland since early Roman times, but that made little difference. Were they really Slavs who had been germanized, many of their names reveal Slavic forebears. Were they Christians? Were Catholics too Italian? Were the only real Christians Lutherans? And so on and so on, as the Germans would say, Und so weiter, und so weiter! This talented people has always reacted negatively to itself because it had an inferiority complex. The recent arrival of Turks and others from outside Europe have made the German problem only worse. We had hoped the Germans had really changed. Now we are not so sure, nor should we be.

  48. @n1789 Who is WE? as in "we are not sure"....and what is your assessment of Germans based on? You've lived in Germany and therefore can pass judgement? Or you ARE German? Or is it just that you read the NYT which is obsessed with Germany?

  49. Many Europeans feel under threat as their birthrates are low and native populations are declining. Traditional cultures, which we largely do not have in the US, are also under pressure. Here in Flushing, we have experienced population change with Reform Jewish areas disappearing. These were settled in the 1950s, but the children who grew up here moved elsewhere as adults. Their places were taken mostly by Chinese and Korean immigrants. Older residents sometimes feel resentful at the "take over" with restaurant signage and menus having no English and being unable to communicate with their new neighbors. As a WASP, I have always been in a very small minority here. I preferred Flushing when it was more diverse, though I suspect diverse places are merely shifting from one majority to another.

  50. The recollection of A. Adomako being spat on by citizens from the eastern side is unrealistic as "guest workers" from Vietnam and Cuba were spread across the DDR and racial diversity was not an unknown. For Germans of the west, FRG, the economic collapse of its neighboring cousin was an economic pitfall, almost as much as the forming of the EU in opening borders and economic welfare to Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary.

  51. @Frederick You have to be careful not to glorify the history of “guest workers” from other communist countries in East Germany. They were contained in specific housing, controlled and observed even more than the regular population and treated like second class humans. I might be guided by prejudice but i think you can literally feel the adversity against anyone “foreign” traveling in East Germany even now - decades after the reunification and intensive rebuild efforts of a part of the country that was literally bankrupted when the Soviet Union collapsed and lost control. I am sure that anyone who grew up in the East was struggling to find some identity after the Wall came down. There were only two popular options: being a victim of the system or a member of the resistance. But the vast majority of the population was simply playing along with the system trying to make a decent living - something you will never find anyone talking about. The rise of the right wing parties in the east was predictable at day 1 after the Wall came down. There were just too many claiming that the real German culture was preserved in the East and that the West was corrupted by the numerous foreign influences and overrun by foreigners - totally ignoring that the millions of Italian and later Turkish immigrants were essential for the rebuilding process and success in the West after WW2. Germany would not be where it is right now without those immigrants. That is a fact.

  52. @Frederick -- Fidschis. Briketts. Yeah, East Germany harboured some foreigners with "other" skin colours. They were kept inside a governmental cordon sanitaire and as much as possible denied contact with East Germans. Here's a parallel -- North Korea sends workers abroad because the NK government is indebted. Think those Koreans get to mix, get to date? Right. Sure they do. Forced marches under armed guard from dormitory to shuttle bus to jobsite and back again. *** Oddly enough, East Germans really resented them... taking our jobs, stealing our women, the usual false narratives. I believe Adomako's recollections.

  53. The USA has been unified for more than two centuries and still does not have a unified identity. So, what is your point?

  54. @Blunt The point seems to be that since we wiped out the native populations and invited mostly white Europeans to help us to colonize, now we kind of starting to feel not so good about it. So we compensate by letting small number of nonwhites into our country. and, as always, everybody must do the same because we are the best, we are exceptional, and our way is the only way. Anybody who disagree is WRONG and IMMORAL. a

  55. Do not forget the millions of slaves we “let in” and built our economy to its might. We made them “free” when the cost of doing so was less than keeping them enslaved. We then found nice guys like Honest Abe to take credit for the transaction. It took until the sixties of the past century to let them out of their “cages” and use our toilets, buses and schools. American Rhetoric, mightier than the Gospels (collected works).

  56. This is fascinating and teaches me a lot. It's useful to mention at the outset that I'm an American-born part of the Russian Diaspora. Something like half the family's three or four generations before me died in the revolution, civil war, or Stalinism. It is a measure of the horror Russia experienced that there is nothing special about our story. Most Russian families have such a history. The whole Soviet Bloc, to one degree or another, lived the agony. Except for Russia, there is frequently a sense of kinship. But Russians are looked on as oppressors. I think this is unfair; we're not the Stalinists, but their victims. "Being determines consciousness" is one of those Marxist tenets which provide insight, if not taken as dogma. Like it or not, the Russian experience from 1917 to 1991 is of the qualitative sort that the others experienced. I think our shared "being", our lives for forty-five to seventy-five years does affect our souls and thinking in similar ways. Westerners don't believe it when I say we're different from them. West Europeans will say they went through The War too. They're wrong. It's more than that. It's five decades as opposed to their half a decade. And much bloodier. A borrowed line, which captures the mental organization of Second World people: We know that life is about life and death. As the Eastern peoples discover the gap with the West, I hope they turn toward those who share their experience and mentality. Even us Russians.

  57. In the long history of the world, the populations have AWLAWS self-segregated into countries based on shared racial, religious, and cultural traits they shared. It has happened in Europe in Africa, in Asia, on all continents. The mix race thing and multiculturalism is a new trend that goes against nature and how the world has functioned since its inception. No wonder it is failing, and most people who live in century-or millennia-old homogenous countries rejected it. Most people are not comfortable in mix race couples. The ones who do are a minority.

  58. For your information, loads of people feel comfortable in mixed race couples.

  59. @Alexgri Nature is about change and evolution. Otherwise it is condemned to failure. Evolution is about variation, inheritance, selection and time.

  60. @Eleni I know - but even though they are many, raported to reported the 8 billion people living in the world today, they are a tiny minority,

  61. Ethnic Germans (an umbrella term) are the indigenous people of Germany. Any groups who have, through Germany's generosity, been invited to settle in Germany, must be encouraged to assimilate. I can't think of any free and democratic society that has long endured with radically opposed interest groups at odds within it. It's no wonder AfD has risen - a million plus culturally alien refugees/economic immigrants is too much for a society such as Germany to handle. High-profile crimes committed by young refugees have only added to the furor. If I was German, I'd be alarmed too. German birthrates are falling, yet the powers that be continue to push for the admission of peoples from different countries with a different religion, different world view, and very different views on women's rights and other topics. These groups, initially supported by the German welfare state, tend to have much larger families. It's an undeniable reality that the long term consequences of these decisions could radically reshape German society. The only people who could think such things don't matter are those who deny the reality that culture and religion shape us, and separate us. We are tribal by nature. We tend to prefer the in-group. There's a vested interest in maintaining the majority - and if the Germans don't do that in Germany, where will they do it?

  62. @B Samuels As a member of that group referred to as "more German than the Germans" before the Second World War, I can attest to the fact that assimilation is no protection in a country that bases its identity on "indigenous" ethnicity.

  63. I lived in Berlin for a year. The past always seemed close by. Consciously or subconsciously, as Walter put it. But always right there.

  64. Germany can barely patch together 100 years of unification in its entire history. Up until the 1880's, it was a patchwork of kingdoms and princely states that each considered themselves a different ethnicity. It.should also never be forgotten the Germany has a very bad track record with humanity in general and defending ethic Germans in particular.

  65. I was there at the Brandenburg Gate at Mid-night when the formal reunification happened. In the east there was a lot of silence and darkness, in the West it was bright with light and cheering. There was/is a long way to go to bring oneness to a nation of tribes, then the communist scourge, and now massive immigration. IT takes time, decades to do any of these things, and they have many at the same time. Good luck, friends, good luck, the direction is a good one.

  66. Although this issue is typically framed as a matter of white racism, it is worth noting (as the Times seldom does) that the developed nations of East Asia have rejected in toto the hyper-capitalist model of mass immigration and drastic population change, sudden racial heterogeneity in places that had been homogeneous for thousands of years, and abrupt multiculturalism in the homelands of particular ancient cultures. It is worth considering that while that model may have many strengths and be suitable for the New World, it may not be appropriate for every last nation on earth, or the only legitimate choice.

  67. History is full of mass migrations. Humans began by migrating from Africa fifty to seventy thousands of years ago. It can be a very messy business, but that's what we do.

  68. @Greg "Germany" and "German identity" are fairly recent concepts. The historical Germany has always been a "multicultural" country of several ethnicities.

  69. @Theodore R "Messy" being an understatement. The world is a patchwork of different peoples with different cultures, some tiny, some huge. And the history of the world is of one people conquering another. The result is the conquered people usually either assimilate and disappear as a separate people, or they are dominated as a minority and develop an oppositional culture, more or less rebellious, eventually demanding their independence and their own country or at least regional governing structure. Which is why there are regional conflicts and civil wars and ethnic strife within so many countries.

  70. Ms. Bennhold is right, many are feeling like strangers in their own land, but also for reason that don't fit into her—sometime predictable and superficial—storyline. Just as there's an “other America“, there's an “other Germany“ too, not mentioned in this story. It might not be as easy to sell to a mostly American audience like a story that, sadly, confirms prejudices about Germany— but it's there. Many young Germans are tired of abstract East-West discussions because it's simply not part of their reality. The whole concept of identity as a nation for them is not further extendable than a soccer field. The narrative was, though, dominated in the past three decades by either old white academics or people who failed to adapt to change and align themselves after reunification. But again, that on this day, is exactly 30 years ago and the future more than ever belongs to those who see opportunities.

  71. The disintermediation of countries: US manufacturing, East Germany, England's north; occurs when they are networked together economically. The 1975 - 2016 Western strategy was to allow the weak to suffer, as demonstrated in Greece, while leveraging up the profits for the wealthy - creating inequality. The dilemma for those trying to fix the problem is that any funds distributed to the poor will be captured by the more wealthy, as highlighted by Muhammad Yunus in Banker to the Poor. His solution was micro loans targeted only to the poorest people - allowing them to become entrepreneurs.

  72. I am a (former) (West-) German with unforgettable memories to those wild days of first intern- personal encounters between East- and West Germans. However, that honeymoon did not last very long. Around 1994, I sensed from signal of my belly, East Germans would give in to West German life style of sheer materialism. And history prooved that signal to be right. That reality check inspired me to leave the country. I never regretted it.

  73. I stayed and worked in Germany for a year in 1994 in a town called Freiberg, close to Dresden and Chemnitz. I encountered the Neo-Nazi trail but only indirectly, but have to say that as an Asian, I was scared. I definitely encountered the Wessie-Ossie divide (names for West and East Germans resp.). What I discovered and this has stayed with me is this: While there is a strong desire to forget the past in Germany, the strong undercurrents that led to Nazism persist even though at times obliquely. At the very least, it is very hard to imagine a Germany and Germans embracing people from outside - even the British, or French (they do have a soft corner for the Americans), and definitely people of color, and Islam. What needs to be considered is that a nation that created outcomes from Nazism as pervasively as it did, can it ever - EVER - truly free itself of its ultra nationalistic pride, identify, and related activism.

  74. Easterners were disempowered all by themselves in the the GDR. Now it’s the West’s fault that they still feel this way. People know that life isn’t a neat and clean, safe place. There will always be people complaining that life could be better had we only done something different. The path that west Germany followed was the path that the entire country would have followed had that Austrian drifter not existed.

  75. There have long been German people but there was no German country until the 1870's. That was a hundred years after our country got its start. Germany was an invention by the people of the East (Prussians) that needed their turn at dominating others and brought on two wars. They began by dominating other German people and making their lands part of "greater" Germany. The schism between German peoples is not new. Germany is like the U.S. in that it is a country of countries. Texas, California, Alaska, New York, Michigan- all would be countries in and of themselves without our particular history - Texas and California actually were- and you know how Texans still like to think of themselves as part of a lone star country a bit apart from the rest of us. The German states are prideful of their particular histories. My mother is proud to be Bavarian- less so about being German-

  76. This is such a depressing story to read about, but loosely paying attention to recent elections in Germany, it's not surprising. I am glad I have a new perspective to understand why there has been a rise of nationalism in Germany as well despite a strong economy for a long time. My gut feeling is the acceptance of many refugees didn't go smoothly which caused some backlash, but this story shows the roots have been in place for decades. I didn't truly knew about how Turks were treated in Germany to ancestors from their African colonies. It seems like the ugly history is repeating itself in some ways in Germany. To be fair, I don't see the rise of Nazism to take over the entire country again in the near future. I do see more and more public resentment to race and other groups like LGBT. Honestly thinking about Germany and how it's happening in the East, it makes a lot of sense when you've seen what's happen in most of Eastern Europe. It seems like people forgot the horrors of the iron curtain, and are now willing to succumb back to authoritarianism and nationalism in hopes their area would be considered a power on the world stage like it's the 1960s again. It's sad to see, and I don't know how to combat this ignorance and biases.

  77. @Patrick The way to combat ignorance and biases is to start right here. We have no right to judge another country when we are just as bad if not worse. White nationalism and antisemitism and prejudice are rampant in our county. I forget how many times I have been called a Kraut, the Gestapo, a Nazi, etc. after coming to this country. But I prevailed and yet I will never understand the hypocrisy and ignorance of so many of Americans.

  78. Successful immigration from one country to another requires humble attempts to assimilate. One will not be accepted by most if they refuse to assimilate and instead push their will on their host country. That is the problem with immigration from countries with significantly different culture norms. And that is the source of the rising right popularity. What disturbs many is the take liberal governments employ - seemingly favoring new comers with different cultures over citizens; demanding that citizens compromise their own cultural norms. When the molestation and attacks on women occurred a couple years ago during Christmas festivities, the government insisted that it was the Germans that must be accommodating. Don't wear clothing that may attract attention, don't walk alone in the evening (if you're a woman), and cover your head if walking in an area where residents believe women should cover their hair. I'm sorry, but this type of forced social re-engineering of long held customs and cultures only create divide. It is not 'inclusive' to demand host citizens turn away from their own culture in favor of recent immigrants.

  79. All those stories are a cautionary tale when talking about German acceptance of foreigners or 'foreign looking' people. They are true, but they also seem self-selected leaving out the people who are tolerant or openly embracing other cultures. Anti-racist demonstrations regularly outnumber the far right. Before pointing the finger at Germany, count the numbers at US rallies to defend foreigners or Dreamers. As sad as prejudice is for those in this article, I am sure a german in Africa or Asia would tell the same stories. If we (I am an ex-pat myself + can tell stories of non-acceptance in the US) choose to live in another culture we know it is an adventure and cannot expect the other culture to bend to our desires. (Physical aggression of course is another story)

  80. Idealized expectations clearly are colliding with the reality of human existence. Unification was supposed to solve all Germany's problems... Reunification of the US after the Civil War did not, and over 150 years has not. No one in the US expects that a citizen of New York will share all of the cultural touchstones of a citizen of Louisiana and citizens of Berlin [not Berliners, the donut] are definitely not Bavarians. Perhaps the lesson for Germany is actually that diversity is good, and should not be as threatening as many of them find it. The US could use the same lesson.

  81. I lived overseas in the UK for 5 years and traveled extensively in the EU. Having grown up in the south, it was my first introduction to Muslim immigrants and I was fascinated. Soon I began to recognize the subjugation of women and wondered how that would be overcome in Western society, this is a major challenge for Germany and other European countries. The USA is so fortunate that the majority of our immigrants share a common religious ethic and predominantly singular Spanish language.

  82. I'm said to say that East Germans didn't "defeat Communism", it really did collapse. The Soviet Union and its satellite states, including East Germany, were in a state of extended economic crisis during the Cold War, and in time the crisis grew too severe to maintain the existing systems. Once the Soviet Union couldn't afford to enforce its control over the satellite states, they were bound to undergo a collapse. All praise to those who had the courage to march at the end, but the were pushing against a door that no longer had a working lock. Mikhail Gorbachev didn't follow the example of Prague in 1968 because he lacked the resources to do so, even if he wanted to. Note how easily he backed off from the effort he did make to stop the Baltic states, where he certainly wanted to prevent their secession.

  83. This essay conveniently ignores that the resurgence of antisemitism and antisemitic hate crimes in Europe is in large part due to the religious and cultural attitudes of the Muslim immigrants it seems so eager to protect.

  84. @James I remember when a small town in Germany provided a feast for the immigrants and instead of saying "thank you" the immigrants threw the chicken under the tables because it was not cooked to their liking. Many immigrants came expecting a salary without working, fully furnished apartments and no responsibilities. On Quora I read about a foreigner getting a free college education and knocking The country down because he was not immediately offered a job. Instead of being grateful for the free education and then improving his country, he just made demands. I read about this attitude in several publications and in correspondence with friends. I have no problem with immigration, but if you choose to go to another country you should integrate and contribute to the well being of that country. There is nothing wrong with keeping your own customs and language, but in return the you need to contribute to your new country and learn it's language.

  85. First a few things about Germany's recent history: after World War I, Germany lost about 12% of it's territory and after WWII another 30% or so. Well over 10 million people (some estimate as high as 17 million) ethnic Germans were ejected from these territories and forced into the new German territory. The same happened to Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians, ... It was the largest ethnic cleansing in history. It is no wonder that the people in these countries may be sensitive to outsiders. Why shouldn't they be? Their history dictates these feelings. Many have been uprooted from their ancestral homes and forced to relocate by outside forces. The forced relocations where defined strictly by cultural identity. Now the same people who imposed this ethnic cleansing (e.g. the USA) are coming back a few generations later to criticize the Germans for being xenophobic. Get real.

  86. @Joe C. My family was the victim of those forced relocations perpetrated by the Czechs and Russians. But the original problem was that Hitler was given Czechoslovakia, where I was born as a German. Too many countries have interfered in Germany and then dare to criticize when their meddling caused more problems, the USA included. Kidnapping scientists or forcing them to move to the US, killing 19,000 German prisoners of war through starvation and hypothermia in just one camp, is not being talked about in this country. The holier than thou attitude is now being exposed by the actions of the current regime and it's cult followers. There are too many similarities to to Hitler, his followers and the Third Reich. But in contrast to Hitler's regime, we now have Social Media, the internet, television and instant communications to help us discover the truth, but still we have millions of deluded citizens that believe a liar and his propaganda. But yet, Americans proclaim that every German knew what was happening, without all the technology we take for granted. There were no computers and internet, telephones were a luxury few could afford and television did not exist. Many small villages had maybe one telephone and the radio and newspapers were the only source of information.

  87. I am German with a foreign background. German People in their majority are not racist, I am talking of white European people.After World War II Germans vowed to never let happen this once again. I reckon though, that after the refugees crisis in 2015 the country has changed, me myself I am sometimes stunned by my white friends. They are indeed tarring everything with the same brush, a lot of prejudices against foreigners. I must say, I am sometimes asking myself, is Germany my country? Should I pack my suitcase and run away? I have doubts regarding my future in this country.

  88. Most of the problems mentioned in the articles can only be solved by “bio Germans” as they are classified in the article. Germany brought in all these migrants because of economic reasons. They knew that they will have to pay the price. Also, they are not stupid. They will only give citizenship to folks that are contributing. Many will have to return back to their countries. These immigrants are coming with nothing. Most of them want to work hard and try to assimilate. If bio Germans will never accept them as friends and equals what choice do these immigrants have but to only hang out with their own community and start to resent German society.

  89. @Barry Beljak Shouting at the TV cameras "We will rape your daughters, marry your women, out breed you and take over your country" is not a way to make yourself welcome in any country. I grew up in West Germany until the age of 20 when I immigrated to the US. I well remember the guest workers and how little they tried to fit in and then refused to leave. That would not have been a problem if they truly wanted to become Germans. My husband and I visited my family in Germany a few months after the wall came down. We took a trip to the former East and when people heard us speaking English, we were quickly surrounded. The biggest complaint was about their living standards were not immediately the same as the West . They were so used to the state taking care of them that they had no concept of being responsible for their own lives. Over and over I heard that they got paid even if they did not work and they expected the West Germans to do the same without making any efforts of their own. When we traveled towards East Germany, there were trucks after trucks loaded with supplies and materials headed the same way. Surprisingly there was very little traffic going the opposite way with the exception of a large amount of discarded Trabants lining the ditches. When I came to the US in 1962 I had to adjust to life in this country. I feel that anybody coming to Germany should do the same. Just learning a little of the language and customs would go a long way towards being accepted.

  90. Oh boy! Here we go again. The more we know about genetic science the more silly those people seem (a scary kind of silliness since real harm to real people could result of this obsession with a totally distorted sense of history). Come back John Lennon, and sing "Imagine" one last time. Maybe we can arrange a concert at the Brandenburg Gate.

  91. The New World is essentially continents built by foreign immigration by the millions. That is the US heritage for example. Germany had a stable population with minimal inflow of interlopers until just recently. Now the locals feel their German heritage is being watered down. The New Germans are not white and do not know the culture or language. So, the “natives” feel dispossessed. Understandable. This is not understandable in the US. Our nation was built this way.

  92. Call it ignorant or naive, but when Germany brought in the Turks as guest workers, they assumed when the work was done, the Turks would return home. Not realizing, of course, that life goes on and when the workers had children, they only knew Germany as their home. As time went by, "returning home" was an inherent contradiction for the family.

  93. This article says the East "defined itself" in the postwar period, when in fact what they became was defined for them by the Soviet Union, and their German acolytes. It also says the West resolved to atone for Nazi crimes when in fact there is a very spotty record of that, because many of the the surviving members of the war generation thought what was done was defensible and didn't really believe they had done anything wrong. They are most gone now, as is East Germany, and so it is only now that the new Germany can decide what it is. The problems described in this article are thus just growing pains.

  94. We are a Turkish German family, who have been fortunate enough to move to the US 8 years ago, adding a third culture along the way. Idil Baydars notion "The Germans have turned me into a migrant,” rings so true to my wife's experience. She is a researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience with a PhD from one of the best Universities in Germany, but still remained "the Turk" (nothing wrong per se, but if meant to exclude or in exchange for "kanake"). She experienced a lot of the same discriminatory stories which are told under the #MeTwo hashtag by minority Germans. Our kids grow up in California with the tolerance and respect inherit to an immigrant nation and the self-confidence to belong as any other class-mate. One aspect I would like to highlight, is that WWII and its legacy and focus on it by the German society might be not a benefit, but a hurdle in accepting people of non-German ethnicity as Germans. Why? Overcoming the past captures so much resources and energy — even 70 years after — that not a lot attention is left for transferring this learning to other groups. or even recognizing other events in German history, like the massacre in Namibia etc. (no reparations...) Example: the same teachers who have been engaged in educating about the Holocaust, might have recommended a non-white German kid to a lower school track, just because of their race. Germany has still to develop a positive identity in order to develop the generosity needed to welcome others as part of it.

  95. German history is probably at play here too: Germans were scattered across different nation states for a large portion of their history. It was only due to deliberate (and military based) efforts that Germany became a "nation" from the entities that were absorbed. In recent history Germany became divided as an outcome of WWII. It is no wonder Germans wonder who they are.

  96. Friendships have to be based on something in common, like shared pasts and social rituals, common interests, values, activities: sports, food, movies, music, cultural, etc. With adult immigrants, there is no shared past, and when there is a huge cultural chasm between individuals and groups, finding such common interests, activities or values is more difficult. For westerners, socializing with people who do not allow mixed gender socializing, or alcohol, and whose life revolves around prayers and the mosque, for example, rather than going to movies, to the gym, the game, to concerts, to bars and restaurants, is a problem. Also, in stable societies, where people do not move around much, friendships are often developed early on, and those childhood friendships continue into adulthood, not leaving much time or opportunity to forge new ones. That creates parallel societies rather than social integration, and a feeling from the original society that newcomers are the ones choosing to marginalise themselves. None of this though has anything to do with skin colour or race, exccept that the latter can become a marker for that type of issue.

  97. The Western Super Powers are the most ethnically, religiously, culturally diverse, and free, places this planet has ever seen, despite constantly perceived imperfections by the NYT. Why don't you write about how diverse and welcoming the Islamic countries of the Middle East and Asia are? China? Russia? Japan? Literally any other non-Western country, you name it. Oh wait, there is no story...

  98. Is this the third article of this type this year? The NYT likes to stoke this fire often, as if German racial tension was just bubbling below the surface ready for that special man to come and make the evil times happen all over again! I guess that comes with the territory, Germany being the fourth largest economic power in the world. Lots of touch points! Germany took in a million Syrian refugees but Germany is only 1/28th the size of America. How many refugees did Japan take back home after their delivery of white Toyota Pickup Trucks to the Middle East Region? None! Yes, It’s a problem! When were they going to go back home these refugees? Looks like never. So, these refugees get money literally thrown at them by the German government, they get an apartment, they get training — man they got it good! But what did East Germans get after the fall of the wall and after the opium-like good feelings of reunification were gone? Answer: they got shafted and they’re unhappy about it! What happened? The all-powerful and all-wise west did what the west does well: they capitalized on them! All the good GDR companies were bought, gutted, stripped and remolded into that prime specimen of efficiency and profitability which caused East German unemployment to soar! So they ask themselves: I get pushed aside while others (foreigners) get all their needs met — excuse me! — but if that kind of thing would happen in almost every other country in the world everyone would be up in arms!

  99. @William Perrigo This could have been the Picture 10 years ago. But times have changed, and since 30 years, the W. Germany has poured tax money ("Solidaritätszuschlag") into the east to boost infrastructure. In amounts magnitudes higher than everything the refugees ever will get. From a the view point of a west german, the attitude of many easterners look very similar to that of the of a first born child on the arrival of the new borne brother. They simply resent having to share the attention.

  100. Given the chance with virtually no repercussions, humans will lie, cheat, assault, steal, discriminate, bully, segregate, exclude, attempt to find the smallest thing to lord over their neighbors to feel better about themselves, use religion as a cover for doing all of the above . . . No veneer of civility can long paper that over.

  101. It seems a lot of what is said about East Germans here is similar to what is said about American "fly over country."

  102. @Theodore R You are right

  103. I was there in '89. In fact, I was there from '76 to '08 and watched all of the transformation. I watched the exodus of the educated elite of East Germany as they left to the West as soon as they could... The West instituted a reunification tax to rebuild the East ... built new facilities and factories to bring the east back from a woefully under-developed economy. The east never recovered from the brain drain .. the resentment from those remaining can't be overstated as they were left without pensions and a job market that demanded completely different skill sets. It's no wonder that those that have blamed everyone else, have seized on those sentiments, and formed the anti immigrant neo nazi parties. AFP Alternative fuer Deutschland

  104. A fascinating piece of journalism.

  105. So - the lesson is - don't flood your country with more immigrants than you can assimilate in a reasonable fashion - what could be the possible lesson for us? Oh - I know - abolish ICE - open borders.

  106. Ehhrm. It would be useful to add that quite a few of those people of Turkish descent who are portrayed as victims of German intrinsic racism have a double nationality. Besides being passport Germans, many are also passport Turks. Moreover, they vote in Turkish elections and are a more reliable source of support for Erdogan and his AK party than the Turks in Turkey. Just saying...

  107. @Rudy Flameng , note that estimates of Turks living in Germany vary between 4 and six million. As to dual citizenship, I cite: "In all, out of the 73 million Germans living in Germany around 4.3 million people hold at least one other citizenship... Even though German-Turks are often the focus of the dual-nationality discussion, they are the third largest group of dual citizens with 530,000 holding two passports. " source: https://www.dw.com/en/dual-citizenship-granted-to-most-naturalized-germans/a-45030118

  108. @Rudy Flameng By turkish law, there is no posibillity to give up your citzenship. So even if you burn your pass, you still are turkish. Not too long ago, not beeing turkish would mean, that you can't own land in Turkey. Assume, you would have been are a second generation. german, you father already dead, and inheriting an estate from the grandfather back in turkey.... Anyway, most people, who complain about the injustice of dual citizen ship do so only when talking about germans with turkish ancestors or Daniel Cohn Bendit - and don't give hoot about public german figures having second american or swiss passports.

  109. I am German, the article is simplifying in crucial topics: „The descendants of Turkish guest workers who arrived after World War II still struggle for acceptance“ This suggests that “bio Germans” do not accept Turkish “passport Germans” (never heard this comparison here in Germany btw) And that this is the reason why the Turkish-German community struggles. This is only true for the first generation many decades ago. Today’s Turkish-Germans (those born here) do indeed often struggle, though not because they aren’t accepted but because they do not accept! Accept to learn German (yes!), accept to integrate themselves in social live and to social norms. Many of the young Turkishgermans have an outdated image of women, tolerance and are themselves often racist

  110. @Oliver Try reading the other article 'I Will Never be German', if you tell someone they don't belong for long enough, eventually they'll believe you.

  111. @Oliver Sadly, this is a mutual issue between Turks and Germans, both have a history of unfounded arrogance and abuse directed against outsiders, and this sure results in isolationist behavior, and occasional head banging. But there is hope: outside of the nationalist camps of AKP and AfD, there is civil talk!

  112. @Oliver Sadly, this is a mutual issue between Turks and Germans, both have a history of unfounded arrogance and abuse directed against outsiders, and this sure results in isolationist behavior, and occasional head banging. But there is hope: outside of the nationalist camps of AKP and AfD, there is civil talk!

  113. I have been in Germany a few times before I relocated in US. I do feel the significant difference between these two countries. In Germany, you notice yourself are a foreigner, but in US, nobody would give you a look because of your appearance or your accent. One of my west German friend married a Mexican. They told me their daughter has being bullied because of her dark skin, and she is totally happy in the schools here.

  114. Germany only exists because it was the will of Otto von Bismarck. He created Imperial Germany which was an agglomeration of kingdoms and principalities. That was destroyed by WW1, reborn as a Germany which was unified in name only. Empires do not suddenly become nations. Rather they tend to splinter. East and West Germany were more like reactions to each other: the Federal Republic in the west unified because it had to in the face of communism.

  115. German immigration laws have always been cryptic, dare I say byzantine, even for descendants. G-G-granddad worked for the Kaiser. Granddad emigrated to US at 17 (between the wars), married and had kids. Took US citizenship as an old man. So he was a citizen when Dad was born (in the US). On paper, that means Dad was a German citizen, and so are his kids. Gathered all of the birth and marriage certificates to prove legitimate births, and all of the citizenship and emigration papers. Got a German lawyer in 1998 who helped with applications. The answer was that Granddad was not a citizen if he did not re-register with Germany to maintain his citizenship EVERY 5 years while in the US. Maybe he did? Germany should have those records. But no, they were lost in WWII. So no hope. Still stuck in the US. Meanwhile, a friend got his Italian granny's birth certificate from Ireland, added his mom's birth certificate, his parent's marriage record and his own birth certificate, shipped them off and got a passport from the Italian Consulate.

  116. Accept, assimilate, go to school, work hard, love one another, smile.

  117. I think Germany is doing a remarkable job giving its history. From the kleinstaaterei of the 18th century to the nation Bismarck forged to its debasement in the Versailles Treaty which led directly to Hitler, to its dual development after WWII, and now its efforts at reunification and assimilating immigrants, it has been in constant motion and evolution. I've been a few times, starting with the Occupation after WWII when I was a child and I spoke better German than English. I took my wife there twice on vacation some years ago, and we adored it. Does it have problems? Sure. Is the East worse off economically than our Rust Belt or many of our small farmers? Doubtful. Are their racial troubles worse than ours, or candidly, even close? I suggest not. But Germany is subject to the same strains all Western democracies are facing now, the U.S. as much as or more than any. A good part of the reason is the meddling of the U.S. in the affairs of other countries, especially the Middle East, where it has never belonged, and where its wars by proxy or directly have created the huge refugee problem we see now. I have far more faith in the German people of today to address these issues rationally, fairly, and compassionately than I do in the people of my own country. And while I am a Californian through and through, I will say that I felt more "at home" in Germany than I ever have amongst the white people of the American South. So a big cheer for Germany from me, and best wishes.

  118. Let’s dispense with the myths. After the First World War, in which the Germans committed many atrocities, primarily in Belgium and France, Germany was allowed to remain virtually intractable. After the second work war, the western powers did not thoroughly denazify what became west Germany, because their first concern was combatting communism. Thousands of war criminals suffered minimal or no punishment. Then, with utter stupidity, the United States supported and encouraged German reunification, a principle cause of the second Cold War. Angela Merkel’s admission of over a million, largely moslem refugees will make her a despised figure in German history, because she destabilized her country and provoked the UK into brexit. We Americans need to disabuse ourselves of historical myths and view both history and our present realistically.