Racism in Germany: A Story of Death Threats and Casual Insults - News - International
Germany was shocked to learn the extent of the crimes committed by a recently uncovered right-wing extremist group. But racism is hardly an anomaly in Germany. One family’s experience shows just how widespread prejudice and hate really is.
Four weeks. Even the timing itself seemed calculated for maximum intimidation.
Four weeks are long enough to begin forgetting, to regain a certain amount of calm. To begin thinking that maybe it was just a bad joke. But four weeks is too short to completely overcome the fear.
Four weeks was the amount of time that passed between the two death threats the Krause family (eds. note: not their real name) found in their mailbox. The first letter came in August 2011. The sender had cut letters out of a newspaper to form a message warning that Mr. Krause and his family would be killed if they didn’t leave Germany.
Why? Because Mrs. Krause and the couple’s two children have dark skin. Because Mrs. Krause comes from East Africa.
The second letter came in September, and the sender spent far less time on it. He simply drew four crosses on a sheet of white paper — one for each member of the family. For the son, for the daughter, for Mr. Krause and for Mrs. Krause.
Mr. Krause, a middle-aged professor, had long promised himself not to take occasional incidents of hostility too seriously. He wanted to avoid overreacting, to prevent those who would sow fear from feeling the satisfaction of success.
The second threat letter, however, made stoicism impossible. And since news broke of the neo-Nazi group that apparently killed nine immigrants over the course of several years, his composure has completely evaporated. The perpetrators of the killing spree purposefully chose victims who did not originally come from Germany.
“I am afraid,” says Krause. “I feel the presence of an unpredictable threat.”