Migrant violence mars New Year’s Eve in Germany
But politicians respond with only silence
Over the last decade, Germans have greeted New Year’s Eve with more and more trepidation. On what is meant to be a day of celebration, in Germany it shines a light on something much uglier: the country’s failed migration and integration policies.
This year, violence against police and firefighters, especially in Berlin and other cities, broke out. Unfortunately, the German government is attempting to deflect from the uncomfortable truth that non-integrated migrants and asylum seekers tend to be at the centre of these incidents. This was exemplified by the reporting of one of the largest public broadcasters and the German Police Union who claimed that it is “difficult to talk about perpetrators because these are group dynamic processes as a consequence of the pandemic” — carefully avoiding any mention of the demographic groups involved.
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The interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony suspected Right-wing extremists were behind the attacks, and the SPD’s Federal Minister for Health, Karl Lauterbach, tweeted (before deleting) that those who participated should be evicted from their homes.
But let’s take a look at the evidence. Out of 145 arrests, 45 people had German citizenship, while 27 were from Afghanistan, 21 from Syria, and the remaining number from 15 additional countries. One should always be careful with generalisations but, at least since the mass sexual assaults of New Year’s Eve 2015 in several major German cities, it should be clear that the integration particularly of young men — many either traumatised or socialised in explicitly anti-Western environments — continues to be a failure.
Trapped in an ideological web of their own making, no party in Germany wishes to mention, let alone address, the problem. In fact, it is only parties on the fringes – both Left and Right – that have spoken out.
This problem is only likely to get worse with the Ukraine war raging on. While most Europeans have been sympathetic to Ukrainian refugees — so far predominantly women and children — there are no preparations being made for the day when war-traumatised husbands and fathers will follow their families, many of whom have no intention to go back to Ukraine. More than 25% of the current 1.02 million Ukrainian refugees want to stay in Germany after the war, which will in many cases include the application of Berlin’s generous family reunification programmes.
Even Poland, which has been a staunch supporter of Kiev and mobilised massive public support for aiding and housing refugees, is reaching the limits of what it can do. The expectation of the many civilian helpers was that this would be a short conflict and that by the end of the year most Ukrainians would return home, but the longer the war carries on, the less likely that scenario is becoming — and public support is dropping accordingly.
In the current media climate, it is very difficult to point to these difficult truths. But the omertà on the issue is preventing the necessary steps from being taken to alleviate current shortcomings in the areas of integration, and to formulate policies that would prevent the situation from getting worse.
Most likely the problem will now be swept under the rug. Until, sadly just as likely, New Year’s Eve 2023.
Why does every little frickin thing have to be ideological. I support immigration, but there has to be some vetting. Why is Germany required to take on “disaffected” young men from any country, let alone war-scarred nations like Afghanistan and Syria?
But of course the leftist party in power ignores reality and tries to blame right-wing extremists with not even a shred of evidence. Shocker.
I guess the days of political leaders exercising non-ideological common sense are over.
The vast majority of Afghan/Syrian immigrants didn’t come in under the current Govt JV. They came in under Merkel’s CPU, who weren’t left wing (at least in traditional sense).
Can’t comment on who sparked this specific incident. Could be extremists, but insufficient info here to deduce.
A question more important I think, and also because I doubt v much Europe and the UK is going to be able to completely stem the migration tide, is should all immigrants go through some form of ‘citizenship’ process and what could that look like? I think there is something in the US’s naturalisation process, albeit for the UK I’d add a few things – a reasonable command of the language for example. So you’d get a period where you can reside before you have to apply for formal citzenship and that places you under some responsibilities to prepare including an interview. You fail and you have to return to country of origin unless clear asylum case, and of course the risk might have dissipated in the interim. You get a criminal record in the interim and you immediately fail, unless v extenuating circumstances. We’re a million miles from this right now, but I reckon could contribute to a different view that many might take and feels like could be a better balance of rights and responsibilities.
The SPD were in coalition with Merkel for 12 of her 16 years in power. By any historic standard she led a left of centre administration for most of her time in office.
The problem with that – and it’s one that exists now, but would be exacerbated by these humane-sounding and no doubt well-intentioned proposals – is that many such migrants would simply ‘disappear’ into the black economy, or worse. If they could be found, starting a deportation process would be even more difficult, since there are opportunities to engage in false marriages with exploited females. Some may already have engaged in criminality as a means of economic survival.
These proposals have great intentions but as is often the case from a socialist point of view, are essentially taking a rose-tinted view of human nature with the dire consequences that history shows us befalls all socialist experiments.
It is not really socialism. It is an aspiration to becoming like Mexico or Brazil or South Africa. If you earn well from the tide of the hopeful, as a trafficker, a hotelier, or barrister, you simply enjoy the status of your life in your walled compound.
It wouldn’t be the only policy response. Just one key element. The issue of ‘disappearing’ is valid but keeps, for me, dragging us back to the national ID card issue. One can understand the reluctance, but one wonders if should also be revisited?
The German situation is a little different as they have allowed far more immigration – for now – in part because they recognise their demographics need quite a bit of immigration. Therefore if a country decides this a ‘naturalisation’ process could help.
I don’t see it as a socialist policy as such. In fact many socialists want a reduction in immigration to strengthen workers bargaining power. The issue is more complex than simple labels.
The Germans who are required to have identity cards could much better enforce repatriation, if they had the political will to, than is the case in Britain. I agree with much of what you say, but the real ‘problem’ is that there is still a pro-immigration / diversity majority among the mainstream political parties, despite a bit of lip service to the contrary, in both Geany and the UK.
Saudi Arabia has accepted 0 refugees from the Syrian conflict; Japan has strict immigration policies. Australia holds asylum seekers on a remote island. If you want to do it, it is possible.
I think useful to try and separate asylum seekers from immigration more broadly. They are different. We’ve had over 500k immigrants last reported year and as we know the asylum numbers are c45-50k.
Asylum requesting and assessment needs to be managed effectively and humanely which we’ve clearly failed to do for various reasons. My original point on this article was about the potential role for a ‘naturalisation’ process once/if we’ve decided someone can stay.
My mother’s great grandfather was the youngest of three brothers. The eldest was killed in the Republican government’s suppression of the rising in the Vendee, his middle brother fled to safety in England to avoid a similar fate and he was recruited into Napoleon’s army but subsequently fled to England with nothing but the clothes he was wearing; so I am sympathetic to those fleeing from civil war and to family following them. However, my forebears came for a similar culture, soon found employment and quickly integrated into English life and married English women.
It would be much easier for refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to integrate into societies with similar religious and social backgrounds. Unfortunately, the lure of relatively prosperous countries with generous welfare systems draws many to Europe. As you say much more focused vetting on the ease with which migrants are likely to be integrated satisfactorily is required if we are to continue to accept further immigration.
You have suggested some sensible reforms but ultimately the prospect for satisfactory integration depends on the real attitudes of the immigrant. We are friendly with a Pakistani psychiatrist two of whose sons are doctors and have married Catholic girls from Ireland and Italy. There is no question they are integrated into western life. Equally, we have a close friend who came to study social work in England from Nigeria with her two young daughters and they have all successfully integrated into society and are assets. The daughters chide their father when he comes over and tells him he needs to adapt to English ways.
The problem lies with immigrants who wish to cling not simply to their familiar diet but to ways of dress and cultural attitudes that are deeply antipathetic to western mores. It is difficult to draw up a test to discourage or exclude those who are likely not to integrate satisfactorily into broad UK society without a deep dive into their cultural beliefs and exercising discriminatory judgements that our culture has largely abandoned as illegitimate.
As our psychiatrist friend shows being a Muslim Pakistani is not necessarily a bar to integration but a combination of poor education, anti-western prejudice and a belief in the legitimacy of jihad and the inferior status of women can be a toxic combination. Certainly the whole process of deportation of those entering illegally and committing crimes needs to be streamlined and some cap on numbers needs to be established so that social services and housing provision are not overwhelmed as currently occurs.
What a very sensible comment – what brings you to Unherd?!
Hm. If this deportation and capping of numbers was a goal…It simply is not.
I agree, in part. There is some assimilation duty on immigrants, albeit can be difficult to define what assimilation means.
One has to reflect we currently have a Indian heritage PM, a west indian heritage Foreign Secretary, Kemi Badenoch (who I thought was the most impressive of Tory leader candidates and who’s time I suspect will come) with West African heritage etc etc. I think the assimilation test is being more than passed by the vast majority of immigrants and self evident. You mention friends who work in healthcare. The NHS would have collapsed years ago without immigrants.
We are no longer either a majority Christian nation as born out from national surveys, albeit I do believe the heritage and many western values remain overwhelmingly part of what defines us.
Indeed, I have various friends who are doctors who were born in India and the NHS would certainly collapse if they were withdrawn; but I don’t agree that the NHS would have collapsed without immigrants. Had we not relied on immigrants we would have had to expand our medical training. It is frankly a disgrace that we fail to train a proper proportion of our youth instead of relying on luring immigrants from their own countries.
I agree with you regarding Kemi Badenoch. Much more impressive than most of the conservative politicians.
I agree we just haven’t expanded medical or nurse training places such that we don’t rely on immigrants for 50+yrs. That became even more ridiculous when we opted for Brexit and choked off one of our effective supply routes. Separate debate perhaps as to why we haven’t expanded and the role of the Treasury in blocking proper workforce planning medium/long term.
However one wonders if our demographics now indicate we just won’t be able to find enough from training our own, esp in social care. This is why there needs to be some proper modelling. AI/Robotics will only go so far in managing an aging population. Quite a dilemma.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but there has to be some kind of vetting process. Allowing “disaffected” people into the country isn’t the answer.
And Merkel was anything but conservative or right wing. It’s like the Conservative Party in Canada. It’s been 10 years at least since I would consider it conservative. That might be changing under new leader Pierre Poilievre. I emphasize might.
Yes, you are a million miles from this. As is every country, the very rich earn well from either defending cases, or providing services for those showing up for said services. Free to them, of course.
You fail and you have to return to country of origin unless clear asylum case,
How would you implement that in a country that doesn’t even have ID cards?
Whilst i very much agree with the author regarding the issue of the cover up of ethnicity in terms of lack of integration of immigrants leading to cultural conflict, i think he’s made a mistake by including:
war-traumatised husbands and fathers will follow their families, many of whom have no intention to go back to Ukraine.
How will this group become involved in acts which have at their basis a cultural origin? They’d be migrating across a border on the same continent to be with their loved ones, not cast adrift on a different continent and essentially a different world.
Well they do speak a different language, and have a significantly more macho and hard drinking culture. Family breakdown amongst those separated is likely to be quite extensive. Germany is also 10 times richer per capita than Ukraine. Doing nothing in Germany can be a lot more lucrative than working hard in Ukraine. I could imagine some integration challenges.
Have a look at the topic: violence resulting from an upbringing in a vastly different environment. Re-locating to a different country, albeit a close neighbour, as a result of unimaginable trauma in the Ukraine, will of course present challenges. The two things are of a different order.
One wonders why the author can’t see these differences. One wonders of the purpose of the article is to create a rift between germans and ukranians fleeing there.
Analysing isn’t advocating! ‘Shoot the messenger’ and all that. The arrival of large number of mostly hard working Eastern Europeans in the UK was hugely controversial and probably tipped the 2016 Referendum to a Leave majority. I can see no fundamental reason why in the longer term a similar sentiment could not apply to Ukrainians, as the war drags on.
Albanians are from the European continent, but appear to be hugely over over represented in criminal behaviour, at least in the UK. The Mafia, Camorra etc are from Italy. There seems rather little evidence that ‘culture’ per se causes crime. However, that doesn’t mean that the integration of people with very different beliefs etc doesn’t create other challenges.
I agree. The author is himself avoiding difficult truths by raising such an alarm – we all know that these problems do not and will not generally come from Ukrainians. Generally they come from poorly educated, indoctrinated and (in some cases) traumatised young Muslim men
Ukrainians are still different and have different norms. If you read British papers, it has not been a walk in the park for Britons hosting Ukrainians. Some are even being accused of having put the Ukrainians into slavery, as a way of trying to stay permanently in the country.
“Trapped in an ideological web of their own making, no party in Germany wishes to mention, let alone address, the problem.”
As someone observed ‘you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.’
“These are group dynamic processes as a consequence of the pandemic” is my new go-to excuse.
It’s the new ‘fiery, but mostly peaceful’, isn’t it?
That is why I showed up late for work today – that dynamic process thing.
Ralph Schoellhammer wrote, “This was exemplified by the reporting of one of the largest public broadcasters and the German Police Union who claimed that it is ‘difficult to talk about perpetrators because these are group dynamic processes as a consequence of the pandemic’ — carefully avoiding any mention of the demographic groups involved [in the high rate of gross violence on each New Year’s Eve].”
The demographic groups who are committing this violence in Germany are migrants from the Midde East and North Africa. (According to a report by the BBC, “in 8.5% of all crimes [in Germany in 2017], German police suspected a [Middle-Eastern] migrant of involvement. But for violent crime that figure was even higher, at 15%, according to a report in Die Zeit.” See the reference.)
The tendency to avoid mentioning the demographics groups also exists in the United States. Unless you look specifically for the crime statistics, you would not know the violent impulses of Hispanics and Africans since the news media tends to avoid mentioning the ethnicity or race of the perpetrators.
Consider New York City, a hotbed of violent crime. For July 2022, the city had 47 murders, 142 rapes, and 178 shootings. (See the reference.) For the year 2021, arrest statistics indicate that Africans or Hispanics committed 93% of all murders in New York City. Africans or Hispanics committed 96% of all shootings in the city. Africans or Hispanics committed 88% of all rapes in the city. (See the reference.)
The American fate is a dire warning to Germany, Japan, and the rest of Western civilization.
By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, 40% of the residents are currently Hispanic. Most residents of the state already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.
Just as Hispanics have changed the character of American society in New York City and the state of California, Middle Easterners and North Africans are changing the character of Germany. To safeguard the future of the nation, the Germans must close their border to migrants from anti-Western societies and must also distance Germany from the United States.
By 2040, the non-Western United States will cease being an ally of Western nations like Germany. The non-Western American government will implement policies that harm the interests of the Germans.
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I’ve visited Germany a number of times and over the years it has become less and less German.
The Germans have been too accommodating and we have all been too quick to beat them down with the N-word. I don’t much care for their industrial strength but their culture needs to be given time and space because they are people too
the trains no longer run on time.
It can’t get better, because Germanywants to be Most Moral and Most Tolerant.
I saw an interview of two German young women who were being pestered, in real time, on New Year’s Eve/Silvester. The men behind them kept getting very close to them, and were enjoying being on camera. One of them smirked and said, “But we are nice boys, too.”
They smirk at the discomfort of the women, and one could go meta and say, wow, here they are saying that they are nice, like ethnically German guys. Yet, ethnic German boys would most likely not invade the young women’s space; not be in such large groups to begin with; and not mock them, that they were nice boys. German men…really barely let it register that they find a woman attractive.
Basically, Germany waved goodbye to their quiet culture, and many of the New Germans quite enjoy poking a stick, if not going right up to the limit of being arrested…which won’t happen, 11 times out of 10.
P.S. I will vouch for the author’s statement that who is doing things is not covered. That has long been the case. I just saw footage of a firemen, who was confronted on NYE with a man carrying a weapon. He spoke a bit about the migration background, and allowed that he also had a migration background, as a Pole. He was very polite, yet accurate. The footage posted by Argo Nerd on Twitter did not match the edited version that ended upon t.v.
I don’t believe that stoking fear about Ukrainian refugees is the solution. Ukraine needs our solidarity now more than ever.
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