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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A New Far-Right Generation: Neo-Nazis Seek Foothold in Kindergartens - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A New Far-Right Generation: Neo-Nazis Seek Foothold in Kindergartens - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

An eastern German state is so worried about neo-Nazis trying to take over kindergartens that it has ordered teachers to vow allegiance to democracy. But that won't tackle the underlying problem -- the racist youths who assaulted immigrants in the 1990s are now parents intent on rearing little skinheads.

The government of the eastern German state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania took the unusual step last month of ordering anyone setting up a children's day-care center to pledge their support for Germany's democratic constitution. The move followed a number of cases in which neo-Nazis had tried to take over the running of a kindergarten, influence teaching in nurseries or get recruited as teachers.

"I am concerned that right-wing extremists could become managers of kindergartens," said Manuela Schleswig, the state's social affairs minister. Effective August 1, all managers setting up new nurseries or taking over existing ones in the state have been required to declare that they and their staff subscribe to the principles of democracy.
The announcement conjured up dark visions of neo-Nazi pied pipers teaching toddlers the Hitler salute. While such fears are exaggerated, and incidents have been isolated, anti-Nazi campaigners say they have indeed detected a new and disturbing phenomenon: the attempted indoctrination of young children by teachers and parents in the former communist east, which continues to grapple with a strong neo-Nazi presence even after more than a decade of government policies to counter the problem.

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