Germany: Civil Courage vs. Uncomfortable Facts

Thilo Sarrazin, a Bundesbank director who criticized Turkish and Arab immigrants in a recent interview, has been punished by his employer and may lose his job. Apart from receiving threats by Islamist extremists, he may also be taken to court by the German authorities on charges of “incitement to racial hatred.” For many Germans, however, the 64-year old Mr. Sarrazin, who until last May was Finance Minister in the regional government of the state of Berlin for the Social-Democrat SPD, is a hero.

Last week Axel Weber, the president of the Bundesbank, Germany’s equivalent of the FED, needed body guards on an official visit to Istanbul. Normally, the head of the German central bank never travels with body guards, but life at the Bundesbank has changed since two weeks ago. Lettre International, a German cultural magazine based in Berlin, published an interview with Thilo Sarrazin, in which the Bundesbank director criticized the unwillingness of Turkish and Arab immigrants to assimilate into German society. The interview provoked the anger of these very immigrants. Immigrant groups accuse Mr. Sarrazin of espousing the “racist views of the far right.”

In contemporary Europe, leading a life surrounded by body guards has become normal for people such as Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who criticizes the Islamization of his native land, and Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist who made a drawing depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Thilo Sarrazin has now joined their ranks. His boss Mr. Weber, however, does not want to become the target of angry Muslims. He has apologized to everyone who might feel offended by the “discriminatory comments” of the Bundesbank official. Indeed, the Bundesbank issued a statement distancing itself in the strongest terms from the interview. It also demoted Sarrazin; he may even be fired altogether.

In the Lettre International interview, Sarrazin talked about the economic and cultural situation in his hometown of Berlin. He argued that Berlin has been unable to recover the cultural and economic status and prestige it had before the Second World War. Even its contemporary population figure of 3.2 million is lower than the pre-war 4 million. Sarrazin says that Berlin’s dynamics was broken when the city lost its Jews. The Jewish elite was driven out and instead the city acquired a Turkish and Arab underclass.

“The large scale disappearance of the Jews could never be compensated,” Sarrazin said. “Thirty percent of physicians and lawyers, eighty percent of all theatre directors in Berlin in 1933 were of Jewish origin. Commerce and banking were also largely Jewish. All this has vanished; it was also a considerable intellectual loss. Sixty to seventy percent of the extermination and expulsion of the Jews in the German speaking countries affected Berlin and Vienna.”

Sarrazin argued that during the Cold War, ambitious and dynamic people moved away from the highly-subsidized West Berlin while left-wing activists and drop-outs took their place. Meanwhile a Turkish and Arab underclass was imported, which also lives mostly off government subsidies without making economic contributions to the city.

“Berlin has a bigger problem than elsewhere of an underclass that does not take part in the normal economic cycle. Many Arabs and Turks in this city, whose numbers have grown as a result of wrong policies, have no productive function except selling fruit and vegetables,” Sarrazin said. The plight of his home town makes him very bitter. He lashed out at what he called policies that were “too plebeian” instead of elitist. “Anyone who can do something and strives for something with us is welcome. The rest should go elsewhere,” Sarrazin told Lettre International. The Turks, however, “are conquering Germany in the same way that the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: through their high birthrate. […] I do not need to acknowledge anyone who lives off the state, rejects this country, does not take proper care of the education of his children and keeps producing little girls in headscarves.”

Since the publication of the interview, Sarrazin has received threats from Islamists. The Social-Democratic SPD Party has started a procedure to oust him from its ranks. He has also been criticized by the Zentralrat der Juden (Central Council of Jews), whose General-Secretary Stephan Kramer compared his comments about Turkish and Arab immigrants to the “opinions of Göring, Goebbels and Hitler.” The Berlin prosecutor is currently examining whether Mr. Sarrazin can be prosecuted for the crime of “racial incitement.”

An opinion poll indicated, however, that 51 percent of the Germans agree with what Mr. Sarrazin said. Conservative newspapers, such as Die Welt, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and the mass circulation Bild have come to his defense, arguing that he has merely stated uncomfortable facts. Prominent Germans, such as former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and the writers Henryk Broder and Ralph Giordano, have also spoken out in support of the Bundesbank official.

Helmut Schmidt, the nonagenarian former leader of the Social-Democrat SPD, said that the presence of seven million immigrants in Germany are proof “of a wrong development for which the political class [of the past 15 years] is responsible.” It would have been better, Mr. Schmidt told the weekly magazine Focus, that those who refuse to integrate into German society “had been left outside.” He added that “The further inflow of people from Eastern Anatolia or Black Africa will not solve the problem [of Germany’s ageing population], but will only create an enormous new problem.”

Ralph Giordano said that Sarrazin’s analysis was “right on the mark.” Henryk Broder stated that he “does not even go far enough.” Since both Messrs. Giordano and Broder are Jewish, their support for Mr. Sarrazin has earned them severe criticism from the Central Council of Jews, whose Mr. Kramer derisively called both men “Jewish intellectuals.”

On October 14th, Jasper von Altenbockum, an editorialist of the influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, wrote in his paper that Mr. Sarrazin’s frank remarks were proof of his great “civil courage.” “Civil courage is more than just courage. It is also a service to the state, whose legal constitutions and social achievements are worth defending.” Mr. Altenbockum criticized those who accuse Sarrazin of acting irresponsibly and foolishly. “In a civil society it is not considered foolish to risk one’s own existence when one defends the civil society and its freedoms and security. What is foolish, is for the civil society to punish those who act thus.”


General welfare distribution in DK and IQ and socialhilfe in D

When real research shown on says IQ-average in nations of Africa show figures from 59-84 and IQ-average in the Middle East shows 83-87 I would think that a German in a nation with IQ-average of 99 is able to understand that total average IQ resulted from a weighed average with the presence descendants’ original regions as weighs shall be drawn down even though you might have a non-mathematically background. The last comment I hope you accept as sarcasm.

“Socialhilfe” in Germany 300%, In Denmark 330% when you take amount of welfare (proved by the official Welfare Commission) implies the folowing:

Germany : x/(1-x) * 0,90/0,10 = 3,00 result in x = 25 percent of all “Socialhilfe”

if Germany has 10% immigrants – when the German statistics have been corrected, eventually from Denmark. Notice: births of foreign citizens and births of naturalised (children after “die Einbürgerungen”) are not included in what you read from Statistisches Bundesamt. It matters if you agree that a letter from Bundesamt does not change the identity of an individual and their children.

In Denmark 330% when you take all amounts of welfare of payments/tranfers and wage to public service staff included and all foreign descendants (proved by the official Danish Welfare Commission) analogic implies the following:

Denmark: x/(1-x) * 0,877/0,123 = 3,30 result in x = 31,6 percent of all amounts of public welfare

This is also a 100% correct use of mathematics or a true
projection of universial bricks, even though it is at least 101%
politically incorrect

Joern E. Vig, Denmark

Am I the only one to know?

How can someone be compared to Hitler for criticising the islam-induced segregation of Arabs, Turks and Persians? It was Hitler, who collaborated with muslims on a great scale and even had an elite muslim unit! It is muslims, not Germans, who still praise him. Has everyone else forgotten that? Is it a politically incorrect truth that we'd rather call a lie?

Truth # 4

@ KO

You are right in saying that the immigration debate during the second Bush term was "centered on the rule of law" and not on protecting any particular historical or ethnic character of the USA.  That is very true, and it is probably indicative of the depth or extent of pc culture which has been afflicting Western civilisation for quite some time.  My objection was really to your assertion that "a public figure....would be alone".  That is not in line with my observations and perception of reality or, if you will, I am less pessimistic than you on that score.  But, I agree with you that the real debate on immigration still has to come and cannot take place under current circumstances. Respect for rule of law is the absolute mimimum before any serious 'progress' can be made.

We probably disagree on the extent to which America's historic civic "culture" is tied up with any specific "ethnic culture".  The founding fathers of the USA republic could not have imagined that, today, the two strongest defenders of the 'original' constitution on the Supreme Court are of Italian descent, and the majority on the same court are Roman Catholics.  I recognise that, in the short run, specific behavior patterns and specific values are often 'tied up' with specific ethnicities.  But, I think that US history shows that 'ethnicity' is no guarantee for fidelity to the ideals of the American Revolution and its constitution.   

We probably agree on the need for a 'restrictionist' immigration policy. But, I insist that such 'restriction' should be based on the need to preserve a common CIVIC culture in the USA, and not cast in terms of any desire to preserve a specific ETHNIC character. After all, if we are going to hyphenate Americans, I have more confidence that Indian-American Bobby Jindal or African-American Thomas Sowell will display greater fidelity to the Constitution than 'anglo'-Americans Albert Gore and Jimmy Carter (I know, I am picking my examples 'carefully'). The issue is indeed to preserve the best of 'culture', not race or ethnicity.   

still on Berlin

Visiting Western Berlin always amazed by the quantity of foreigners in basic low wage infrastructural work (road work, waste collection, house cleaning, nurses, ...); Western Berlin was one of the main harbours for Gastarbeiter, originally thought to replace the male losses of WWII. Young male people stayed in W-Berlin because they couldn't be drafted to the Bundeswehr. Everybody else was quite happy to leave - even now Berlin has far less inhabitants than in 1939. The presence of American, British, French and Sovjet military allowed space for some interessting spy stories. Eastern Berlin harboured the biggest African community in the Eastern Block. Thus, Berlin continues its tradition of immigration - Prussians, Huguenots, Jews, Poles, Africans, Turks, and Asians. Even Mr. Sarrazin fits in this immigration cue.

To: KO, Kappert, et al Re: Germany




Hitler did not usurp German “virtues”.  He exaggerated certain German national character traits and suppressed others in order to culturally support a self-serving supremacist ideology that had hitherto been unknown in Germany.  Germany was less than one century old as a nation-state when Hitler assumed dictatorial power.  Despite the impact on observers of the Kaiser’s centralized and efficient war machine, Germans had been hopelessly divided and feuding for over a millennium.   The re-organization of all areas of the German state and society under Hitler was a new phenomenon in German history that all prior rulers – from the Merovingians to the Hohenzollerns – had been unable to realize.


I have yet to see an example of a society in which a majority ethnically cleanses one minority and co-exists peacefully with another.  Many American pundits comment on these issues, in fact more so than in Germany.




Do I detect a note of anti-Semitism from you?  Given Berlin’s demographics until the Holocaust commenced in earnest, what would Berlin be without its Jews?  Huguenot and Jewish refugees added value to Berlin; African and Muslim free riders have only depleted it.  If you had done more than a cursory etymological examination of Mr Sarrazin’s surname, you would discover it does not indicate Arab/Muslim ancestry.  In fact, the French surname could mean an ancestor participated in the Crusades. 


What is a “perfect” German?  Third generation non-White immigrants to Western countries are in many cases assimilating more poorly than their parents and grandparents e.g. “homegrown” Islamic terrorists.  And it is utterly ludicrous for you to imply that Jewish pundits are responsible in any way for the situation of Turks in Germany, when even Turks interviewed by (the supposedly left-wing) Der Spiegel admit their collective responsibility.


Marc Frans & Traveller


Full agreement – “temporary immigrants” provisioned West Berlin and minded the Fulda Gap…

Truth # 2

@ KO

Frankly, I see absurd (cultural) self-hatred in both your posting and in Kappert's.  From the latter that is expected, but from you such pessimism is somewhat surprising.

It is true that pc-delusion is widespread on both sides of the Atlantic, but it is not true that (some) "public figures" have not being quoting true statistics or not been speaking about ethnic merits and demerits in America.   Over time, immigration debates (and debates about race) have a tendency to wax and wane in the USA.  A major immigration debate happened only a few years ago, under Bush,  and another big one is shaping up (under less favorable conditions) in the coming year under Obama. 

However, Kappert as usual takes the cake.  His claim that West Berlin would not have survived the Cold War without its "immigrants" takes the 'comble' of self-delusion.   One wonders which is worse: his ignorance about fairly recent history (the Cold War) or his simplicity about 'immigrants'?  Rest assured, I do not think that you, KO, would be so foolish as to think that it was immigrants that 'safed' Berlin (unless you would consider the US military in Germany during the Cold War as temporary 'immigrants').

Truth #3

@marcfrans: Though in general you are a superior observer of American politics, I will respectfully stick with my point on this occasion. Major public figures avoided speaking the truth about ethnic groups even at the peak of the immigration debate. On the pro-reform side, i.e. the restrictionist side of the debate, it was de rigueur to say how much we love and benefit from immigration, it's only illegal immigration we oppose. The immigration debate centered on the rule of law, not on protecting the historical ethnic/cultural character of the U.S.A. There was absolutely no discussion of returning to low quotas favoring Europeans as under the pre-1965 immigration law. Tom Tancredo was the most outspoken major figure, but even his discourse was somewhat muted and in any event he was marginalized in the Republican party for valid and invalid reasons.

PC reigns over discussions of ethnicity and culture in America. Remember the flak Jimmy Carter caught when he praised Polish-Americans for preserving ethnic neighborhoods? He has been making up for it ever since.

I won't respond in detail to your suggestion of "absurd cultural self-hatred." I am sure you will acknowledge that PC is a liability, and I will acknowledge that some degree of delicacy about race and ethnicity is desirable. I will suggest, however, that with your staunch insistence on the importance of culture and the insignificance of race, you may be less troubled by the self-suppression of Americans and Europeans on matters of ethnicity than others might be.

West Berlin

survived because of
1) the American military
2) enormous financial support from West Germany.
3) special low taxation for companies and people living and working there.

what merit

How can the discrimination of social and behavioural differences be proclaimed as 'merit'? Sarrazin is a bigmouth on the level of Bild-Zeitung and should ask himself what Berlin would be without its Turks 'selling kebab to drunk Germans at 3 a.m.'! Probably Western Berlin wouldn't have survived the Cold War without its immigrants. But Mr. Saracen desires himself back to old times, when 'Jews' crowded the hospitals, newspapers and kabarets, while today there are just ordinary Germans and immigrants from Africa and Asia. Times are a-changing. Where is 'civil courage' arguing that immigrants do not fit in 'normal economic circles' - I wonder what he defines as 'normal' in 2009, but of course Bundesbank continues to employ him! Surely his mother and grandmother wear head scarves in Central Europe and his family has doubtlessly a migrant background. More than 70% of third generation migrants in Germany are perfectly German, appearing on TV, football, political parties, public services. Maybe the slightly senile ex-chancellor Helmut Schmidt (non ageing for Beliën) is a bit outdated, from Giordano and Broder one does not expect anything but sarcasm.

Truth is a merit

It is a merit to recognize reality and base policy on reality instead of wishful thinking. Do Germans benefit, weighing the pluses and minuses, from having so many Africans and Asians in their country? If not, why are they there? Let's at least have these debates instead of just assuming that everyone contributes and that everyone has the right to be wherever he likes.

Hitler's revenge

Three cheers for Mr. Sarrasin and civil courage! The difficulties he is facing seem to go back to Hitler, who usurped German virtues, including the very concept of Germanness, and polluted them with his filth.  Hitler's legacy is that Germans can scarcely defend themselves against any external or internal threats.  Their "defense," led by Hitler, against the non-threat of their own Jewish compatriots, discredited all future defenses against all ethnic threats.  And not only for the Germans, but for all Europeans.   Thus the left and their Islamic masters have Hitler for their strongest ally. 

All the greater the courage shown by Mr. Sarrasin.  Is there another public figure in America or Europe who has even come close to speaking honestly about ethnic merits and demerits?  No.  Because of Hitler it is impossible.  Though I am impressed that Mr. Sarrasin has found some public support.   Here in the U.S.A., if a public figure made a point of the true statistics on black-on-white crime, or the true numbers of Mexican illegals in our prisons, he would be all alone.  He would recant, and retire from public life. So powerful is the reign of PC delusion and/or hypocrisy in free America. Maybe the Americans, like the Brits, have not suffered enough enforced hatred of themselves to say, enough is enough, while some Germans at least have now had enough.

For you history buffs: Hitler film clip from YouTube

The Irresistible Truth

It is difficult, even for ethnic Turks in Germany, to find fault with Mr Sarrazin's views.  He is only articulating what the vast majority of Germans hold to be true, a truth that is vindicated by statistical data.  Mr Sarrazin's insights into Berlin are equally valid, as the city was once home to large minorities of Huguenots and Jews, both prosperous groups.  The Turkish vendors selling doener kebab to drunk Berliners at 03:00 don't cut it.


Unfortunately for the SPD and CDU/CSU elites whose attitudes to the increasing non-White and Islamic presence in Germany range from ambivalence to outright encouragement, Mr Sarrazin's comments have hit a nerve with the German people, regardless of their left-right affiliation.


Moreover, the minorities and their compatriots and co-religionists have been thus far unable to mount a ferocious campaign against Mr Sarrazin, as was expected.  Perhaps the truth is irresistible?*



*Der Speigel interviewed a number of "Turkish Germans" who agreed with Mr Sarrazin's statements.