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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 93 (May 1947)

Anti-semitism in Germany,   p. 12 PDF (643.4 KB)

Page 12

A nti-Semitism is still strong in Ger-
many, according to a recent sur-
vey conducted by the Public Opinion
Surveys Unit of the Research Branch,
Information Control Division, OMGUS.
Nationalistic sentiment among Ger-
mans has tended to increase in the
past eight months as indicated by
comparing figures on this attitude
with those compiled in a previous
survey. These conclusions were pred-
icated upon interviews with 3,415
persons, selected scientifically as a
cross-section of the US Zone and
The study indicates that about four
in 10 persons in the zone can be said
to be seriously disposed to exhibit
racial prejudice. Another fifth of the
population while not exhibiting posi-
tive prejudice are negative in their
views and hence cannot be expected
to counter any expressions of anti-
The result of the survey which was
based on the answer to selected
questions enable a division of the
persons sampled into five groups:
those with little bias, 20 percent;
those who are nationalists, 19 percent;
those who are racists, 22 percent;
those who are anti-Semites, 21 per-
cent; and those who are intense anti-
Semites, 18 percent.
Many factors seem to influence the
formation of these attitudes. Sex
proved to be significant in measuring
anti-Semitism, since the women of the
zone are markedly more biased than
the men. Locality also influenced pre-
judice; small-town people were found
to be more biased than those from
large cities. Bavaria as a Land dis-
played the least bias (though Munich
has a much greater percentage of
anti-Semites than any of the other
cities sampled), with Wuerttemberg-
Baden the worst, and Hesse not far
According to the survey, "neither
service in the Wehrmacht nor mem-
bership in the NSDAP has much bear-
ing on the degree of anti-Semitism.
Nor are people who grew up under
the Nazi regime much more preju-
diced than people who were adults
when Hitler came to power. On the
whole, attitudes toward this problem
seem to become fixed before the eigh-
teenth year.
"In general, it was found that pre-
judice toward Jews was greater
among people with a lower status in
society, those with the least education
and those with unspecialized jobs.
Religious and political affiliations
were also shown to affect attitudes.
Protestants tended to be more biased
than Catholics, but in both groups
those who attended church regularly
were shown to be more prejudiced
than those who attended irregularly.
"Another factor of some importance
in its bearing on anti-Semitism is so-
cial and political apathy. There is no
question but that the most prejudiced
are also the least critical, the least
well informed, and the least interested
in political affairs and problems. It
cannot be determined whether this
group insulates itself from ideas and
the critical approach because they
wish to nurse their prejudices or
whether they are prejudiced because
they are isolated from the world of
ideas. However, the fact is that this
apathy and prejudice go hand in hand.
Bigoted people in Germany are not
only unfavorably disposed toward
Jews more frequently than other citi-
zens but tend to hold more un-
favorable opinions on such topics as
The survey emphasizes that "the
elimination of anti-Semitism is a
long-range problem. The fact that
people of better education tend to
have relatively less racial prejudice
than the uneducated is important, for
it shows the way in which the prob-
lem must be met. The school, where
much of critical opinion is first formed,
is the place for combating prejudice
of all kinds, and this is no less the
case when the problem is anti-
Semitism. A positive and well-directed
effort to teach racial tolerance in
German schools should do much to
eliminate the problem over a period
of years."
Long-range Education
Program Held Essential
Dr. R. Thomas Alexander, for many
years a professor at Columbia Uni-
versity, has been appointed Acting
Chief, Education and Religious Af-
fairs Branch, IA&C Division, OMGUS.
Dr. Alexander is responsible for the
formulation of policy in German edu-
cation and is in charge of all phases
of MG program for the re-education
in the, US Zonei.
In assuming his position, Dr. Alex-
ander stated: "It has always been
realized by Military Government that
the re-education of Germany is a
long-range job which may take gene-
rations to accomplish. However, it
must also be realized that this pro-
gram will succeed only if it has the
support of each and every person en-
gaged in the occupation. One thought-
lelss and irresponsible act by an indi-
vidual or group of Americans can
undo re-education which took months
or even years to accomplish.
"The re-education of Germany is
not the job of a few men and women
but one of the primary responsibilities
of all occupational personnel. Such
support in thought, word, and deed is
as vitally needed as material support
of the youth activities program and
an understanding of thiei problems
which will have to be met and solved
if Germany is to be made over into
a peace-loving nation.
"However, the support of the occu-
pational personnel is not the final so-
lution to this problem. In order to
help the German re-educate themsel-
ves we must have the support of
American educational forces. We need
help from outside not only in the
form of intellectual understanding but
in the material froms books, papers,
and modern instructional aids. The
re-education of Germany is the first
experiment of its kind in history, and
it must be successful. It cannot and
will not be successful unless it is sup-
ported by every member of the occu-
pational forces with the help of the
societies of teachers and educational
experts back home."
19 MAY 1947
Anti-Semitism in Germany

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