Germany is considering forcing newly arrived immigrants and asylum seekers to tour former Nazi concentration camps, in the latest effort to stem a rising tide of anti-Semitism blighting the country.
The idea has been proposed by Sawsan Chebli, a Berlin state legislator. She told Sunday’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper that, “concentration camp visits should become part of integration courses” for migrants and asylum seekers.
Currently, the integration courses focus on learning the German language and exploring Germany’s history, culture and legal system
Her proposal received a significant boost as leaders of Germany’s Central Council of Jews and the far larger World Jewish Congress agreed with her.
Josef Schuster, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told Deutschlandfunk radio Wednesday the idea is “good in principle” but there are questions over details. He said it wouldn’t work simply to summon people to concentration camp visits.
Schuster said well-prepared visits would be “absolutely important” for older schoolchildren in Germany as well as for asylum seekers.
Asked about the possibility of mandatory visits to concentration camps, a spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees ministry told Reuters the integration course for immigrants already had a module regarding the consequences of the Nazi rule for the people of Germany and Europe.
The proposal for concentration camp visits comes as the German Interior Ministry confirmed that in 2017 the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country had risen by four per cent year-on-year.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the German government stands accused of abandoning its Jewish community as increasing anti-Semitism means there are parts of the country where it is considered dangerous to be a Jew.
Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, made the call. He lamented a lack of action by the German government combined with mass, unfettered immigration from Muslim countries as being key contributors to the plight felt by the nation’s Jewish community.
“In some districts in major cities, I’d advise people not to identify themselves as Jews,” Mr. Schuster said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper last July. “Experience has shown that openly wearing a kippa or a necklace with the Star of David is enough to attract verbal or physical threats.”
He pointed to Muslim immigrants who come from cultures with zero tolerance for Jews as a particular threat.
“There is a legitimate concern when there are numerous people who have grown up with Israel and anti-Jewish slogans. Whoever has been indoctrinated for a lifetime does not throw it off at the German border. We have to work actively against these ideas. The rejection of anti-Semitism and the recognition of Israel’s right to exist must be a basis for cohabitation in Germany.”