On 18 September, German Public Broadcaster ZDF showed an interview by Peter Hahne. It posited the idea that Germany has been living in fear for quite some time and asks the questions:

Is that right? Are we Germans fearful in our own country for violence, terrorism and war? Or is this mood promoted, exaggerated by the media? What is the truth about ‘German angst’?

On the ZDF website, the interview is introduced by noting increased crime in German cities, the growth in the number of terrorist attacks in Europe, assaults by immigrants against unreproachable citizens, the threat of climate change. So, the program asks, what is happening in the world, in Europe, in Germany? Is it really all that dangerous? Should we fear? Or is it a conspiracy

to make people live in fear and coerce them into a certain direction?

What to make of the emotional state of the Germans? Is the fear genuine, or constructed? Can it be fought with arguments, proof and ‘fact-checks’? These are the questions Peter Hahne discussed with his guests.

His first guest is Ulricht Reitz, who replaced Jörg Quoos as Chief Editor of Focus in 2014.

By means of introduction, a quote from an editorial in newspaper Derwesten from 2010 is given:

‘We want to be free in Germany and live without fear – no terrorist threat will deter us.’ A strong sentence by the Chancellor. But it is a false one. One is reminded of childhood, shouting as loudly as possible in a dark cellar:’I am not afraid.’

The second guest is psychiatrist Christian Peter Dogs. He states that:

Fear, in a positive way, makes life into an adventure. He who knows no fear doesn’t live long and not intensive.

The remarkable section of the conversation displayed above, unfolded as follows:


“We can’t seem to manage to integrate refugees. There is a pressure on the various levels of government, that keeps growing, when one was to warn of this two years ago, that this was going to happen, one would have been truly stigmatised, because nobody wanted to hear it. But it was predictable. Those people, they have a regular, working pair of brains, they knew this was going to happen. When you let in a lot of people, that come from a culture that is hard to integrate, with a religion that is at least unsavoury, that will give problems, big problems. And from the top, from the political elite the signal is given, we can manage that and at the bottom they have to solve it. But they can’t solve it.”


“Yes, yes, and then young men are coming from war zones, backed up by their religion.”


“Yes, and then we are confronted by the dangerous phenomenon that nobody wants to see, that someone’s personality is completely formed around twelve, or around twenty years old at the latest and is very difficult, even impossible to change. Which means that with those young men, an enormous potential for violence is introduced, that is controlled by a completely different set of values, and that’s a time bomb that we have let in, because not only do they not understand our values, we can’t even teach them to them. And even if we could, you can’t achieve much by asking them a few questions during refugee therapy, we’ll just have to accept that.”


“I had Claudia Roth here as a guest, she said ‘we make everything integration, with courses etc.’ and that’s just naïve?”


“Yes, without a doubt.”


“Integration is impossible in a lot of cases. You can learn the language. But you teach them to become a member of the culture, or learn a certain religious sensibility, or integrate the conviction and least of all the potential for violence. We’re talking about people that have an innate potential for violence, because they have grown up in war. They have learned to fight, they don’t know how to do harmony and to believe you can train them in that is madness.”