Syrian refugee interviewed in Germany

The refugee camp in Jenfeld, Hamburg, Germany

By Ute Reissner and Benjamin Hader in Germany:

“Nobody can live like this”: A young refugee in Hamburg speaks out

9 October 2105

Around 800 refugees have been living in a tent city since July in the outlying and impoverished Hamburg suburb of Jenfeld. The tents were erected in a park on the edge of a residential area, one of several temporary camps in which 10,000 people have been confined in the northern German city this year. The majority of the people, around one third, come from Syria, followed by refugees from Albania, Iraq and Eritrea.

While a right-wing initiative protested against the establishment of the refugee camp in Jenfeld’s Moorpark, receiving high-profile coverage from the media and politicians, many local residents and local institutions are making great efforts to assist the new arrivals.

A local school set aside one of its rooms at its own initiative as a store for donated clothing. By contrast, a sign hangs at the camp’s entrance refusing donations.
A sign at the Hamburg refugee camp rejects donorsIn the large tents put up by the German Red Cross, lines of fold-up beds are available for sleeping. There is no other space for the refugees.

In August, all camp residents had to be sealed off from the outside to treat the skin condition scabies because the outbreak had been ignored for weeks until medical treatment was provided. Doctors and other helpers have repeatedly protested over the inadequate treatment available for other infectious diseases.

The camp is surrounded by fences and heavily guarded. Visitors and the media are not allowed to enter. Through the material covering the fences, it is possible to see shameful conditions: small groups sitting around on wooden benches and others walking around. Prams are pushed across the square, while older children ride bicycles or tricycles. Several washing lines have been put up, and blankets and sleeping bags hang on the fences. Inside the fence, several containers have been set up where offices for the camp’s administrators and sanitary facilities are accommodated. Uniformed guards patrol the location and control the only entrance.

On the ground in front of the gate, some young men pass the time by playing ball. Others sit under solitary trees or on the ground, obviously trying to get some space to themselves, since there is no privacy in the camp.

Here we spoke to a young man who told us that he comes from Syria. He fetched Lieth, his friend, who speaks English and told us his story.

Lieth is only 19 years old, but appears younger. The young man made it from Damascus to Hamburg with his 16-year-old brother. He said that, in a year, he would have been finished school.

“We didn’t want to join the Syrian army, that’s why we fled,” he explained. Government officials came to his house and confiscated his passport so that he could not flee the country and avoid military service. His parents subsequently said, “If you have to go to war, you will die, either in the government’s army or one of the militias. Someone will force you to fight. There is only one way out, you have to get out of here.”

The two boys travelled first to Turkey and searched for a ship to take them to Greece. They took a train from Athens to Macedonia. The local police sold them expensive train tickets to travel towards Serbia. Roughly 6 kilometres before the border, they were offloaded in a small town.

In the middle of the night, they crossed the Macedonian-Serbian land border on foot. Then they waited for three days until they had the necessary papers to travel further. Again on foot, they walked across Serbia to Hungary.

They had barely arrived when they were detained by the Hungarian police, who wanted to identify them. When they refused to give their fingerprints out of fear, they were threatened with six months in jail. So they eventually relented. It was all in all a very bad experience, Lieth said.

After a few difficult days in Budapest, they were able to travel to Vienna on a packed train. They then obtained a ticket to Munich with great difficulty.

Friends had advised them to travel on from Munich to Hamburg. It was surely better there, not so overcrowded as in Munich. Lieth never expected to end up in a tent camp in Hamburg.

“In Damascus,” the 19-year-old said, “it was dangerous, but we at least had a house. We had a roof over our heads. I did not expect this from Germany—that one isn’t allowed to live in a house here. Twenty people are accommodated in one tent—men, women and children, all together. There is even a small baby in my tent. It is six months old.

“It is so cold at night that we cannot sleep. We walk around the whole night so we do not freeze. Many can’t cope. Every day between five and six people are taken to hospital. If one needs a doctor, it takes a long time before someone comes, if at all.

“We get something to eat here, but no money. Therefore, we can’t do anything. We can’t leave the camp, we can’t even go into the city, because we have no money for the travel ticket.

“We have no idea what is going to happen next. I always say I would like to learn German. But they always put me off—not now, another time. That’s what happens all the time. Nobody tells us about anything, they say something different each day. This is not only my experience. Friends I have made here are in the same position. We just want to learn and work.

“After all the money we spent, all the effort, after the difficult journey, we are sitting here in a tent camp and have absolutely no idea what will happen. Nobody can live like this. Occasionally I am able to speak with my mother in Damascus. She now regrets sending us to Germany.”

Volkswagen pollution scandal causes police raid

This video from the USA says about itself:

Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, explained

24 September 2015

The EPA announced that Volkswagen was using a “defeat device” to side-step emission laws. Here’s what that means.

From Agence France Presse:

German Police Raid Scandal-Hit Volkswagen‘s Headquarters: Prosecutors

October 08, 2015

The EPA announced that Volkswagen was using a “defeat device” to side-step emission laws. Here’s what that means.

Berlin: German police raided auto giant Volkswagen‘s headquarters and other sites today, as part of an investigation into a massive pollution-cheating scandal engulfing the group.

“Today, in connection with the so-called emissions scandal, raids were carried out at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg and other locations,” prosecutors from the state of Lower Saxony said in a statement.

Volkswagen uses emissions crisis to impose deep cuts: here.

Extinct horse with fossil uterus discovery

A skeleton of a Eurohippus messelensis mare is shown with its fetus (white ellipse). (photo: Sven Traenkner)

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

Oldest preserved uterus found in ancient horse-like fossil

Deborah Netburn

October 7, 2015

Talk about a mother of a discovery: Researchers in Germany have found the fossil of a 48-million-year-old pregnant horse relative, her fetus and bits of her preserved uterus as well.

It is the oldest and only the second fossil uterus ever described, according to Jens Franzen of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany.

Franzen and his colleagues described the find in a paper published Wednesday in PLOS One.

Less than 2% of fossil mammal finds have yielded anything more than fragments of jaw material and other bones, which makes this discovery particularly unexpected.

The primitive horse relative is known as Eurohippus messelensis. It was much smaller than modern-day horses. Even fully grown, the ancient equine was about the size of a fox terrier — about 12 inches high at the shoulders. It was discovered in Grube Messel, near Darmstadt, Germany.

In the picture above, you are looking mostly at the fossilized remains of the mare. The fetus is located in the white oval.

Franzen and his colleagues report that the 48-million-year-old uterus looks nearly identical to those found in modern horses. This suggests that the uteral system was already well developed by the Eocene period (56 to 34 million years ago), and may date back to the Paleocene era (66 million to 56 million years ago) or even earlier.

Grube Messel is a former shale quarry that is famous for its complete vertebrate skeletons. Back in the time when Eurohippus messelensis roamed, it was a freshwater lake, surrounded by a tropical rainforest.

Animals that fell in the lake were preserved thanks to an interaction between bacteria in the lake and iron in the water.

After a dead animal was submerged in the lake, bacteria gathered on its soft tissue and started producing CO2. The CO2 reacted with the iron in the lake to form iron carbonate minerals. This material hardened on the bacteria, creating a fixed bacterial mat that exactly followed the lines of the decomposing soft tissue.

“The bacteria petrified themselves,” Franzen said.

The preserved bit of uterus was not immediately obvious, however. The researchers said they first noticed a “conspicuous gray shadow” between the fetus and the lumbar vertebrae of the mother, after taking a micro X-ray of the fossil.

They eliminated the possibility that the shadow was an artifact of preparation or an abdominal muscle. Eventually, they concluded that they were looking at the oldest bit of fossilized uterus ever seen.

The authors are still not sure what killed the mother Eurohippus messelensis, but it is unlikely that childbirth was to blame. Although the fetus was near term when its mother died, it was not yet positioned to enter the birth canal.

See also here. And here.

German NPD nazis support anti-refugee professors Münkler and Baberowski

This video says about itself:

Germany’s Neo-Nazi NPD party under scrutiny

27 march 2013

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has decided not to join the initiative of the Bundesrat — the legislative council representing Germany’s 16 states — to outlaw the National Democratic Party of Germany or NPD. This is seen as a setback rather than a final blow to the attempt to ban the neo-Nazi NPD.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

Far-right German National Party promotes Professors Münkler and Baberowski

6 October 2015

Humboldt University Professors Herfried Münkler and Jörg Baberowski are receiving support from the far-right and fascist German National Democratic Party (NPD). The current issue of the NPD party newspaper Deutsche Stimme (German Voice) contains an article titled, “Nazi alarm in the auditorium,” which declares, “left-wing extremists are carrying out a campaign of denunciations at Berlin’s Humboldt University against well-known scholars such as Herfried Münkler and Jörg Baberowski.”

The article sings the praises of Münkler and Baberowski from a fascist perspective. The NPD, founded in 1964, is an openly racist and extreme right-wing party, which refers positively to National Socialism (Nazism) and is officially regarded as unconstitutional. The Bundesrat (upper chamber of parliament) tabled a resolution in December 2013 stating that the NPD’s programme is “largely identical with the teachings of the historical German National Socialism.”

The author of the article is senior NPD functionary Arne Schimmer, who is a member of the party’s federal executive, and sat in the Saxony state parliament from 2009 to 2014. In addition to his work as a journalist for the Deutsche Stimme and as a frequent contributor to the right-wing newspaper Junge Freiheit, he is editor of Hier & Jetzt, a radical right-wing publication published by the pro-NPD foundation Educational Institute for Homeland and National Identity.

Schimmer refers to Münkler and Baberowski as “renowned professors” and praises their work to the skies. He declares that Münkler’s book, Die Deutschen und ihre Mythen (The Germans and their Myths) shows “what a mobilising-motivating force myths continue to possess to this day. Schimmer has clearly taken a liking to Baberowski and his work. He calls Baberowski’s book Verbrannte Erde (Scorched Earth) an “excellent work.”

Schimmer leaves no doubt that he is defending the two Humboldt professors against their left-wing critics because of their right-wing politics. For example, Münkler is an “acknowledged representative of a firm school of realpolitik,” who not only recites Carl Schmitt, the crown jurist of the Third Reich, but is also “interested in power-oriented (and thus also realistic) political concepts.”

Schimmer praises Baberowski especially for his anti-communism. He writes that Baberowski “classifies Stalinism as a power system oriented on the ‘model of the Mafia,’ which had arisen from the ‘pre-modern violent dreams of empire.’” Moreover, he adds, Baberowski dared “to address the scale of the victims of the communist programme of world redemption.”

The fact that the neo-fascist NPD soliderises itself with Münkler and Baberowski confirms everything that the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG, Socialist Equality Party) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) have said and written about the two Humboldt professors in recent months. The PSG and IYSSE have systematically demonstrated the right-wing agenda the two professors pursue, and the role they play in the efforts of the ruling elites to revive German militarism.

The foreword to the book Scholarship or War Propaganda?, which provides an overview of the PSG’s campaign against historical falsification, declares that Münkler “is among the most avid proponents of a more aggressive German foreign policy. He openly advocates that Germany assume the role of Europe’s hegemon, aspiring to become its ‘disciplinarian’ rather than its ‘paymaster.’” In addition, he denies that “Germany bore prime responsibility for the outbreak of World War I.”

For his part, Baberowski has “taken on the more difficult task of downplaying the Nazis’ war crimes.” He “bases himself on Ernst Nolte, who provoked the ‘Historians’ Dispute’ (Historikerstreit) in 1986 and is the best-known Nazi apologist among German historians.” Baberowski’s work on Stalinism contains one of “Nolte’s central theses: the claim that Hitler’s crimes were provoked by Bolshevism and were aimed at self-defence.”

Münkler and Baberowski may not be members of the NPD, but their agenda of whitewashing the crimes of German imperialism, in order to return to an aggressive foreign policy, is shared by the fascists. The Wikipedia entry for the NPD notes that the party “strives for a revision of the historiography of the period of National Socialism.”

Unsurprisingly, then, the NPD also expresses its support for Nolte, who has orbited its periphery for a long time. In February 2014, just a few weeks before Baberowski declared in Der Spiegel, “Hitler was no psychopath, and he wasn’t vicious,” Nolte gave the NPD newspaper Hier & Jetzt an extensive interview, in which he called for “the application of greater understanding of the historical manifestations of fascism.” The interview was conducted by none other than Arne Schimmer.

Münkler’s efforts to whitewash the role of German imperialism in World War I have been applauded in ultra-right circles for some time. Around the same time that Der Spiegel quoted Baberowski’s statements, Junge Freiheit, in an article titled “Emerge from the Shadows,” expressed the hope that the year 2014 could “count as a turning point in the politics of German history, where the nearly fifty years of left and left-liberal monopoly of interpretation begins to erode, and the recovery of the national psyche, which has been pathologised by a permanent moralism of shame, begins.”

Junge Freiheit identifies Herfried Münkler as a trailblazer for this awaited “turning point.” In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung in January 2014, he bemoaned the “fatal role” that the “thesis of sole German guilt put into the world by the Entente powers…still plays today.” In the interview, Münkler also declared, “There can hardly be a responsible policy operating in Europe when one has the idea: It was all our fault. With regard to 1914, that is a legend.”

Since then, Baberowski and Münkler have moved ever further to the right in relation to current political issues. The sharpest expression is found in their present smear campaign against refugees. While Münkler declares, “Multiculturalism will not work,” Baberowski goes a step farther and calls for the practical abolition of the right of asylum. His arguments are fully in line with the fascists; so much so that the Neuruppin NPD has approvingly published and linked to his “words of warning” on its Facebook page.

German political establishment lines up against refugees … De Maizière said it angered him that so many refugees came from Afghanistan. “After all, we have been there for more than 10 years with soldiers and police in order to stabilize the country.” He said this after the intentional bombardment of a hospital in Kunduz had once again underscored the criminal character of the NATO war. The German army itself was responsible for a massacre of civilians in Kunduz in 2009, in which 142 people were killed: here.

Danes buy ads apologizing for government’s anti-migrant stance: here.

Nazi arson maybe killed refugee in Germany

This video from Saalfeld in Germany, about people welcoming about 560 refugees at the railway station, says about itself:

5 September 2015

Say it loud, Say it clear – Refugees are welcome here.

Unfortunately, it looks like there is also at least one murderous anti-refugee neo-nazi in Saalfeld.

From Reuters news agency:

One dead in blaze at German asylum shelter, police say

20:45 GMT, 5 October 2015

A person died on Monday in a fire at an shelter for asylum seekers in the east German city of Saalfeld …

Several refugees have previously been injured, but none killed, in dozens of arson attacks on asylum shelters in the past few months.

A police spokesman in Saalfeld, in the Thuringia region, said the cause of the fire was still being investigated and the identity of the victim was also initially unclear. Media said it was a young man from Eritrea.

German human rights activists help refugees escape from Hungary

Some of the over 100,000 who marched in London, England on September 12th 2015 against the Conservative government's asylum policies and in support of refugees

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 5 October 2015


GERMAN ‘escape helpers’ are driving to Hungary with cars and vans to collect refugees and ferry them across European borders, and back into Germany to start a new life.

Volunteers are with an activist group called ‘The Peng Collective’, they have helped organise and coordinate more than 100 volunteers. The 100 Germans call themselves ‘Fluchthelfer’, which roughly translates as ‘escape helpers’. The term has a unique historical significance in this country. During World War II, German Fluchthelfer helped Jews escape and hide from the Nazis.

The heroic actions, though carried out by volunteers and unpaid, are still considered ‘human smuggling’ under European law, meaning that ‘escape helpers’, if caught, can face jail. ‘Peng Collective’ movement has arisen in reaction to a controversial European Union law called the Dublin Regulation. It states that asylum seekers must be processed in the countries in which they first arrive in Europe.

On September 2, when Ole Seidenberg flicked on the morning news in Berlin and saw an image of a 3-year-old Syrian refugee who had washed up on a Turkish beach, he decided to become a ‘Fluchthelfer’. Seidenberg cancelled a holiday in the countryside that he and his wife had planned.

Instead, the 32-year-old drove out of Germany, through Austria, and into Hungary to pick up refugees and ferry them back to his home country, a move that would help them gain asylum.

Modern-day Fluchthelfer, for their part, are creating an underground ferrying service to sneak people from Hungary into Germany, so that the asylum seekers could have a better chance at gaining refugee status in Europe. ‘At the moment, there’s a lot of acceptance in society for Fluchthelfer,’ said Max a volunteer with the Peng Collective. ‘All the escape-helping movements in the past have been illegal,’ he said. ‘But they were justified in the books of history afterward.’

Ole Seidenberg’s first ‘escape helper’ journey began in early September. With a friend, he rented a silver Volkswagen Sharan, and left Berlin at night, driving through the Czech Republic and Slovakia to reach Hungary by Saturday morning. They heard that an area about 31 miles from the Austrian-Hungarian border had become a hotspot, and that if they drove through the countryside toward the border from Budapest, they would find refugees looking for a ride.

The group drove their two cars through Budapest’s streets and on to the refugee hotspot. As they neared the border, they saw hundreds of refugees, along with a handful of cars opening their doors. When Seidenberg opened the doors of his Volkswagen, a family from Iraq immediately got in. The car was so full that Seidenberg’s friend had to get out and wait while Seidenberg drove the family to the border.

By 1am, after ferrying several groups of refugees back and forth, Seidenberg and his friend reunited at a gas station on the Austrian side of the Hungarian border. They spotted a family carrying a bunch of plastic bags, seemingly left behind. The family, originally from Syria, was hesitant to accept a lift. They had just paid 500 euros to traffickers who left them at the gas station in the middle of the night, and were wary of strangers.

‘They thought we must be traffickers ourselves,’ said Seidenberg. ‘Why would we appear in the middle of the night in the gas station?’ After a tense negotiation, Seidenberg and his friend agreed to drive three men and three children to Frankfurt. Alex and his driving partner took another three adults who were headed to northern Germany. In Seidenberg’s car, the refugees fell asleep within 10 minutes.

‘They were completely exhausted,’ Seidenberg said. They were on their feet for 17 days. They had lived in Turkey in a refugee camp for 10 months.’ From Turkey, they had travelled by boat to Greece and from Greece to Macedonia, Serbia, then Hungary. We drove through the night, scared, because there were so many police at every gas station,’ Seidenberg said.

The ‘escape helpers’ risk serious consequences. In Austria, they could be fined for smuggling people in this fashion. In Hungary, they could face up to four years in jail. In Germany, they were risking up to 10 years of prison time under trafficking laws. ‘Hungary is closing their borders more and more; there are more controls on the Austrian-Hungarian border,’ said Seidenberg.

But the ‘escape helpers’ adapt to these changes, often communicating with encrypted messages. ‘As the refugees’ routes change, so do the routes of the escape helpers. They are not going to stop us,’ Seidenberg said. The situation will only become more dire during the winter, worsening what is already Europe’s most urgent refugee emergency since World War II.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015. In September, 168,000 people crossed the Mediterranean, the highest monthly figure ever recorded and almost five times the number in September 2014.|

As of Friday morning, a total of 396,500 people have entered Greece by sea since the beginning of the year, more than 153,000 of them in September alone. The nine-month 2015 total compares to 43,500 such arrivals in Greece in all of 2014. Ninety-seven per cent are from the world’s top 10 refugee-producing countries, led by Syria (70 per cent), Afghanistan (18 per cent) and Iraq (4 per cent). All three are countries that imperialism has attacked and bombed.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said: ‘There was a noticeable drop in sea arrivals this week, along with the change in the weather.’ Edwards said that on Sept 25th, for example, there were some 6,600 arrivals. The next day, it dropped to around 2,200. From an average of around 5,000 arrivals per day recently, it has fallen to some 3,300 over the past six days with just 1,500 yesterday.

‘Nevertheless, any improvement in the weather is likely to bring another surge in sea arrivals.’

The current cooler, windy weather has made the crossing from Turkey to Greece even more perilous.

Last Thursday, there were at least two rescue operations in waters off Lesvos. On Wednesday, there were four separate rescue operations on Lesvos in which 283 people were recovered. But the death of a woman and a young boy brought the total toll of dead and missing in Greek waters to at least 102 this year.

In all, nearly 3,000 people have died or gone missing this year crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Despite daily ferry departures carrying between 3,000 and 6,000 refugees and migrants from the islands to Athens, new arrivals continue and island ports can still be crowded with some 10,000-14,000 people on any given day awaiting transfer. UNHCR said it is concerned that the lack of reception capacity in Greece could seriously jeopardise the relocation programme agreed upon by the European Council, as eligible refugees have nowhere to stay while awaiting relocation.

Greece’s Prime Minister told the United Nations on Thursday that Athens was doing all it could to help the refugee and migrant crisis, and criticised the building of walls to keep them out. In cooperation with the EU and other international organisations, we are doing all we can to manage these flows in an effective and humane way,’ Alexis Tsipras told the General Assembly.

Greece is ‘improving reception facilities and identification procedures’ and setting up hot spots to facilitate relocation, Tsipras said, criticising European countries trying to keep them out. On Thursday, Hungary attached razor wire to a fence erected at its border with Croatia and last month sealed its border with Serbia, cutting off the main entry point for tens of thousands of migrants. ‘We do not believe that the future of Europe or our world can be built on ever higher walls, or children dying at our doorstep,’ said Tsipras.

‘We cannot allow racism and xenophobia to destroy our common principles,’ he added.

Some 500,000 people have come to Europe so far this year, the International Organisation for Migration says, many of them taking perilous journeys across the Mediterranean on inflatable dinghies.

The bodies of at least 95 refugees have been found washed ashore in Libya over the past week according to the country’s Red Crescent charity, in the latest tragedies stemming from the region’s unprecedented refugee crisis: here.

German professor Jörg Baberowski hates refugees

This video says about itself:

“Welcome to Germany” – People applaud and greet migrants with gifts as they arrive in Munich

5 September 2015

Hundreds of migrants have arrived in Munich, Germany, after they were allowed to leave Hungary and cross through Austria.

They are among thousands who have been on the move after Germany and Austria agreed to take more refugees, waiving asylum rules.

By Christoph Dreier in Germany:

German academic Jörg Baberowski stirs up hatred against refugees

3 October 2015

In a number of recent articles and interviews, Jörg Baberowski, professor of Eastern European history at Humboldt University in Berlin, has argued for a drastic curtailment of the right to asylum. In doing so, he has employed the kinds of arguments one typically associates with the extreme right. The professor had previously made a name for himself defending Hitler apologist Ernst Nolte and relativizing the war of annihilation waged by the Nazi regime. Now he is intervening in current political debates with his far-right conceptions.

Baberowski began with a guest commentary for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on September 14. In it he criticizes the “chatter about a welcoming culture” and sharply attacks the refugee policies of the German government from the right. “Naturally, the immigration of 500,000 people annually can be managed technically,” he writes. “But do we want to manage it? No one has posed this question.”

Baberowski answers the question himself with a resounding no. He argues that immigrants from foreign cultures will undermine the foundation of society. “The integration of several million people in a very short time disturbs our traditional continuity which provides social stability and consistency.”

“Mutual experience, what we have read and seen together,” he adds, “is the social cement that once held our society together.”

The racism which underlies this hostility toward other cultures is so blatant that even the fascist National Democratic Party (NPD) has taken note. Their local chapter in Neuruppin has expressed its agreement with the passage in question and posted it on their Facebook page. The monthly NPD newspaper Deutsche Stimme (German Voice) dedicated an article in its latest edition to the defense of Baberowski against left-wing critics.

In a manner typical of the radical right, Baberowski attempts to incite the poorest layers of society against immigrants. “Secretaries, construction workers, mothers who only have a little money left in their old age, hairdressers who can’t find an apartment because they don’t make enough money, don’t understand why the social safety net should be available to anyone who hasn’t contributed to its financing,” he writes, asking, “Why should an immigrant get for free that which those already here have spent decades working so hard for?”

Baberowski practically encourages violence against refugees. During a September 24 discussion on Germany’s 3sat television network, he declared, “Wherever many people come from a foreign context and the population is not involved in solving all of these problems, it naturally leads to aggression.” According to official figures 61 arson attacks on refugee housing took place in the first nine months of this year, in which several homes were completely burned down. Against this backdrop, Barberowski argues, “Given the problem we currently have with immigration in Germany, I think that’s rather harmless.”

The effort to make refugees and immigrants into scapegoats for low wages, social cuts and unemployment is the standard repertoire of the extreme right. It makes up a large part of the propaganda of the National Front in France, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Swiss People’s Party and the German NPD. In adopting these arguments, Baberowski clearly identifies himself with the political far right.

In the 3sat interview, he argues openly for the building of such a party in Germany. According to Baberowski, it is notable “that in countries where there are parties articulating this problem, as in Austria, Switzerland or France, violence against immigrants is much lower. We should perhaps consider that it may help if people simply have a way to vent and talk about these problems.”

Baberowski’s political conclusions are also drawn from the arsenal of the far right. He calls for a virtual elimination of the right to asylum, which was embedded in the German constitution as an answer to the crimes of the Nazi regime. Baberowski claims that with the right to asylum, Germany “gave up its national sovereignty” and let “illegal immigrants decide who can come and who can stay. He insists on speaking of “illegal immigrants” instead of “refugees” to strictly limit immigration and only allow into the country those who would be useful and keep out anyone who “would only be a burden.”

Above all, Baberowski wants to keep out “illiterates.” He arrogantly asks, “Does every immigrant enrich us?” before answering that “Anyone who takes a look at Duisburg-Marxloh or at Görlitzer Park in Berlin-Kreuzberg, will know better.”

Baberowski is well aware that he is putting forward extreme right positions, though he tries to deny it. He angrily denounces all who criticize his reactionary views as well as those who only want to stand up for moral principles and solidarity. While he crudely attacks his enemies, he portrays himself as the victim of a campaign. Here, too, he employs the methods of the radical right who continually insist that they speak for the people, for the majority, for reason and are therefore suppressed. The phrase “There’s no law against saying what one thinks” runs like a red thread through the racist tirades of the far right.

In a September 27 article for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), Baberowski describes Germany as a “republic of virtue,” in which anyone who violates her conventions “is banished to the darkest quarters.” He says, “Level-headedness and rationality are forbidden in the moral high ground which the media has made of Germany. Whoever refers to common sense risks becoming marginalized and ostracized.”

Coming from Baberowski, this accusation is absurd. The Humboldt University professor has at his disposal not only a major professorial chair financed by many third parties, he is also a fixture on talk shows, panel discussions, in newspapers and on television channels. His books are highly publicized. No one has prevented him from spreading his reactionary views.

At the same time, Baberowski has a record of throwing his critics out of public meetings and silencing dissenters. In the summer, he responded to the criticism of students with the demand that the university issue a ban on such “crackpots” and bring charges against them.

Baberowski’s open incitements against refugees confirm what the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) have documented over the last year and a half: that he relativizes the crimes of National Socialism and the war of annihilation waged by the Wehrmacht.

In a February 2014 interview in Der Spiegel, Baberowski came out in support of Nazi apologist Ernst Nolte, declaring “Hitler was no psychopath, he was not vicious.” Basing themselves on these and other statements, as well as a careful analysis of his books, the PSF and the IYSSE exposed how Baberowski uses his position as a university lecturer to systematically pursue a deeply reactionary program.

“Such historical falsifications were previously voiced only by ultra-right and fascist circles. Their promotion today is closely linked with the attempts of the German government to revive German militarism,” we write in the foreword to the book Scholarship or War Propaganda, which documents the conflict with Baberowski and his colleague Herfried Münkler, and which we strongly recommend to our readers.

The university administration and the media reacted with a storm of defamations without answering or refuting even a single one of the well-documented accusations against Baberowski. The Department of History and the university administration accused the PSG and the IYSSE of “slander” and “character assassination” and declared that criticism of Baberowski’s public statements would no longer be tolerated “in the halls of Humboldt University.”

FAZ editor Jürgen Kaube attacked the PSG and the IYSSE in an article titled “Mobbing, Trotskyist style.” Friederike Haupt, writing for the same newspaper, compared the criticisms to “bomb threats and appeals for murder.” Some two dozen articles appeared in the NZZ and other media outlets, all of which supported Baberowski.

Now the same newspapers that defended Baberowski then, open up their pages to his xenophobic agitation. It underscores that these networks support Baberowski not as a supposedly respectable academic, but rather as a political operator with a right-wing program. At issue is the attempt to turn the universities into “state-directed cadre-training centers for right-wing and militarist ideologies,” as we write in the previously-cited foreword. Through the falsification of history, the crimes of German imperialism are being relativized and new wars are being prepared.

Far from being a genuine academic Baberowski is in reality a right-wing ideologue. The scholarly content of his pronouncements are worthless. While he has taught for more than 10 years as a professor at Humboldt University, he has failed to produce any work worthy of international attention. His books are filled with errors, falsifications and inconsistencies. His position in academia is entirely due to the political network which has found it useful to engage him as a right-wing agitator.

That an extreme right ideologue like Baberowski teaches at one of the best-known universities in Germany, and is defended by heads of the university and its various departments as well as influential journalists is a clear warning. The ruling elite is working hard to remilitarize German foreign policy and to institute authoritarian forms of rule. Figures like Baberowski have the task of laying the ideological groundwork for militarism—just as they did prior to both world wars.

Hardly any event has exposed the reactionary political character of the European Union (EU) and its elites in recent weeks more than the welcome extended to Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels on Monday. After being greeted with full military honours by Belgium’s King Philippe, the EU rolled out the red carpet for the Turkish autocrat to persuade him to seal off the EU’s external borders and stop the flow of refugees from Syria through the so-called Balkan route: here.