Could Germany ever have a Jewish chancellor? The notion may seem far-fetched, but it is the scenario that British writer and journalist David Crossland has concocted to convey his worries about antisemitism and xenophobia in modern Germany.
In The Jewish Candidate — an English-language thriller that is to be excerpted in Spiegel Online magazine and will be available as an e-book — Frank Carver, a reporter for the fictional ‘London Chronicle’, is sent to Germany cover Rudolf Gutman’s ground-breaking election campaign. Carver ends up uncovering a neo-Nazi plot to kill Gutman. And so the tale takes off.
Of course, Mr Crossland hopes it will be a page-turner. But his motivations run deeper: he is profoundly critical of what he sees as Germany’s failure to confront its far-right.
The topic could hardly be more timely. Recently, German’s chief human rights officer, Markus Löning, apologised at the UN for mistakes in investigating a 10-year series of immigrant murders, calling it “one of the worst human rights violations in Germany in the last decade”. A trial involving the extremist National Socialist Union begins May 6 in Munich.
Germany “is trying to become a more normal country, but it has this problem which it has been ignoring for too long,” said Mr Crossland, 46, a political correspondent who also has covered the neo-Nazi scene. In areas of former East Germany, “you’ll have a problem if you don’t look German”, he added.