German citizen test omits Shoah

By Toby Axelrod, July 17, 2008
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Jewish groups have criticised Germany’s proposed citizenship exam for failing to include a single question about the Holocaust.

The general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, said he was shocked to find that the Interior Ministry’s new test includes some 320 questions related to history and society, but that the word Holocaust is not mentioned once. The test is to go into effect in September.

Out of these 320 questions, 33 are to be selected for each test-taker. Seventeen questions must be answered correctly. Other requirements for citizenship include language proficiency.

Mr Kramer said that the Central Council appreciated the work that went into designing a single test for all applicants for German citizenship.

But the failure to mention the Holocaust “reveals an unusual concept of history”, Mr Kramer said, adding that officials seemed not to think it was important for immigrants to confront the crimes of National Socialism.

The test asks which religion most influenced European and German culture, but only Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam are given as possible answers. “Judaism is simply left out,” Mr Kramer said. The questionnaire “comes close to being an ideological distortion”.

    Last updated: 9:47am, July 17 2008