Berlin: Germanophobia in school
The Local reports that Germany’s commissioner for integration, Maria Böhmer, said that Berlin officials should deal with anti-German views among immigrant students. Böhmer was responding to recent reports of Germanophobia in schools.
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Two teachers from a Kreuzberg (Berlin) school recently wrote in the GEW Teachers' Union paper of the anti-German harassment some German students experience in schools. They wrote that German students are threatened and bullied, and that the non-German students often receive help from relatives or friends in conflicts. The German students are asked what they are doing there.
Berlin youth coach Oliver Lück (44) says such incidents happen every day. For years he's been working with bully-victims and with the harassers. He told BILD of three cases which particularly moved him:
• Dennis (14) from Reinickendorf - a quiet boy with glasses and pale skin. The problems started once there were more and more foreigners in his class. They called him a wimp. they wanted him to smoke with them, which he didn't want to do. Dennis was pushed around and beaten. They could do whatever they wanted with him, and he had to pay protection money to the older foreign students. In the end, he couldn't take it anymore and thought of suicide. Finally, his parents helped him.
• Lena (15) from Schöneberg - a confident teen, she died her head red and wore black clothes. When she came to the school, she was a foreigner among the other girls, who wore a headscarf. The girls whispered about her, they laughed at her and caller her the 'fire alarm'. Lena began to smoke, and later started up with alcohol and harder drugs.
• Kevin (16) from Neukölln - There were hardly any Germans in his school. The Arab guys provoked him, first with insults, then tripped him and pushed him. At some point, he fought back, and found himself facing twelve boys, relatives of the attackers, who beat him up. From that point on he started dressing like his tormentors and imitating their language. He wasn't beaten up anymore, but had to run errands for the others.
BILD also brings the story of Domitian E. (15), from Berlin-Charlottenburg. He was an outsider from the beginning, since he lighter skin and hair, spoke standard German and respected his teachers.
In August Domitian E. changed schools due to his poor grades. It was supposed to be a new beginning, but it became the worst time of his life. "I was harassed because I speak German," says Domitian.
"Altogether we were 29 students in the class, and besides me there was only one other German student," he says. "The rest were mainly Arabs and Turks."
From the first few days he was discriminated against, harassed and insulted. "They asked me what I wanted here. Since I cam from a gymnasium, I didn't belong." he says that they cursed him behind his back since he came from a 'smart' school, and that his classmates often accosted him in groups, asking him why he didn't speak like they did.
His classmates spoke "Kanake German" (German with a foreign accent and foreign terms). Domitian says he didn't want to speak that way. He avoid the other students and tried not to respond to them. Eventually, he avoided school and became increasingly sick.
Domitian says he was often sick and constantly threw up when he came home from school. He had stomach pains and severed colds. His teachers couldn't protect him from his classmates and nobody listened to him.
When his mother noticed how much he was suffering, she decided to send him to another school. In a few weeks he'll move to a different school where there are more Germans, and where, he hopes, he won't be harassed.