New German citizenship test includes questions about Israel, Jews and the Nazis

The test is seeking to increase knowledge of ‘German values’ among new immigrants


Sample of a German "Einbuergerungstest" (citizenship test) made available at one of Berlin's Volkshochschule (VHS) September 22, 2008, during the first test session in the capital. Germany on September 1 introduced a test foreigners will be required to take if they want to become German citizens, but critics have slammed the move as discriminatory. Officials came up with 310 questions to determine whether an applicant knows enough about the country's political system, history and cultural heritage to earn a German passport. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prospective German citizens will now have to face questions relating to Jewish life, Israel and the Nazis.

The initiative, spearheaded by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, comes in response to mounting concerns over the alarming surge in antisemitic incidents in Germany.

Under the revamped citizenship questionnaire, applicants will now be tested on topics such as the history of Jewish communities in Germany.

They will also be quizzed on the foundation of the state of Israel and the consequences of Holocaust denial.

Faeser told Der Spiegel magazine: "Anyone who doesn't share our values can't get a German passport.

“We have drawn a crystal-clear red line here."

The move follows a parliamentary motion passed last year, urging the government to evaluate the naturalisation test's adequacy in addressing antisemitism and Jewish life in Germany.

Subsequently, the test underwent a comprehensive overhaul, aligning with contemporary societal concerns and historical imperatives.

Recent legislative amendments have reinforced the stringent criteria for naturalisation, emphasising the unequivocal rejection of antisemitic, racist or inhumane behaviour.

Prospective citizens must not only demonstrate a commitment to Germany’s democratic ethos but also acknowledge the nation’s historical responsibilities, particularly concerning the Holocaust and the protection of Jewish communities.

Despite calls for even more stringent measures, such as explicit recognition of Germany’s special responsibility for Israel's right to exist, certain proposals have not been incorporated into the revised naturalisation framework.

The new citizenship questions include:

1) How many years ago was there a Jewish community in what is now Germany for the first time?

a) About 300 years ago

b) About 700 years ago

c) About 1,150 years ago

d) About 1,700 years ago

2) Who can become a member of the approximately 40 Jewish Maccabi sports clubs?

a) Only Germans

b) Only Israelis

c) Only religious people

d) Anybody

3) Which cities have the largest Jewish communities in Germany?

a) Berlin and Munich

b) Hamburg and Essen

c) Nuremberg and Stuttgart

d) Worms and Speyer

4) What is the name of the Jewish house of prayer?

a) Basilica

b) Mosque

c) Synagogue

d) Church

5) On what legal basis was the state of Israel founded?

a) A resolution of the United Nations

b) A resolution of the Zionist Congress

c) A proposal by the German government

d) A proposal by the USSR

6) What is the basis of Germany's special responsibility for Israel?

a) Membership of the European Union (EU)

b) The crimes of National Socialism

c) The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany

d) The Christian tradition

7) What is an example of antisemitic behaviour?

a) Attending a Jewish festival

b) Criticising the Israeli government

c) Denying the Holocaust

d) Playing football against Jews

8) What do the so-called Stolpersteine in Germany commemorate?

a) Famous German politicians

b) The victims of National Socialism

c) Traffic fatalities

d) Famous Jewish musicians

9) How can someone who denies the Holocaust be penalised?

a) Reduction of social benefits

b) Up to 100 hours of community service

c) Not at all: Holocaust denial is permitted

d) Imprisonment for up to five years or a fine

10) Which act relating to the state of Israel is prohibited in Germany?

a) Publicly criticising Israe’'s policies

b) Hanging up an Israeli flag on private property

c) Discussing Israel's policies

d) Publicly calling for the destruction of Israel

Correct answers: 1) d. 2) d. 3) a. 4) c. 5) a. 6) b. 7) c. 8) b. 9) d. 10) d

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