People in Germany express negative prejudices about Jews much less often today than they did 20 years ago. The proportion of people with “latent anti-Semitism” has fallen from 23 percent in 2003 to seven percent this year, the Forsa Institute determined on behalf of the magazine “Stern”. However, according to the survey, negative attitudes towards Jews are twice as common among AfD supporters as among supporters of other parties.

At the end of November, “Stern” repeated a survey that had already been carried out in 1998 and 2003. This time, German-speaking German citizens aged 14 and over were surveyed in 2018, around 1,000 each in East and West. As was the case then, the participants were asked eight specific questions that researchers use to detect anti-Jewish attitudes. Agreement with negative prejudices decreased in all eight categories.

Supposedly “peculiar”

For example, in 2023, 24 percent completely or predominantly agreed with the statement “Many Jews are trying to take advantage of the past of National Socialism today and make the Germans pay for it” – compared to 38 percent in 2003. Regarding the sentence “Jews have given up “too much influence in the world”, 14 percent now expressed their approval, compared to 28 percent 20 years ago.

The phrase “Because of their behavior, the Jews are not entirely innocent of their persecution” is now affirmed by 9 percent, compared to 19 back then. “Jews simply have something special and peculiar about them and therefore don’t really fit in with us” is said by seven percent today, compared to back then it was 17 percent. The trend was similar for the remaining questions. The “latent anti-Semitism” score was calculated from the answers to six of the eight questions. The determined value of seven percent corresponds to other current surveys such as the Leipzig Authoritarianism Study from 2022.

Answers from AfD supporters are much more negative

AfD supporters have a different picture than the average person. One in two AfD supporters agreed with the claim that Jews supposedly benefited from the National Socialist past (49 percent compared to 24 percent overall); 26 percent of AfD supporters agreed that the influence of Jews in the world was too great; 17 percent of the AfD camp thought that Jews were “peculiar”. In all categories they expressed themselves more negatively than the average of the other respondents.

Although the respondents themselves express negative attitudes less often than in 2003, they consider the mood in the country towards Jews to be worse overall: 53 percent say that attitudes towards Jews have become more negative in recent years – compared to 30 percent in 2003. In their own Those surveyed also suspect that their circle of acquaintances have negative attitudes towards Jews slightly more often than they did 20 years ago.

Anti-Semitism Commissioner concerned about “hard core”

Many Jews have recently become more fearful of hostility and concerned about their safety in Germany, as the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents has risen sharply since the terrorist organization Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th. Since then, the Rias Anti-Semitism Research and Information Center has recorded an average of 29 anti-Semitic incidents per day.

The Berlin anti-Semitism commissioner Samuel Salzborn told the “Stern” about the numbers: “The hard core of the anti-Semites is becoming more radical, more brutal, and possibly even more violent.” Salzborn demanded that the majority in the country take an active position against anti-Semitism. “Otherwise those who become more aggressive will have a much greater impact on public debates.”