Teaching History and the German Right

Gabriel Fawcett looks at the efforts being made by history teachers in Germany to combat racism and neo-Nazism.

Germany has been through six months with the extreme right wing barely out of the headlines. The second half of last year saw a bombing which injured ten eastern European Jews, the brutal murder of a Mozambican, and attacks on asylum hostels and synagogues. It has been a German nightmare, leaving politicians visibly floundering. One of the most alarming elements is that many of the perpetrators were teenagers.

‘I would say that there are many places, especially in the former East Germany, where right-wing ideas have achieved cultural hegemony amongst young people’, regrets Dr Andreas Eberhard of ‘Against Forgetting, For Democracy’, a civic action organisation. This means that professional historians and history teachers are in the front line grappling with a social menace.

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