The immigration and asylum policy is nowadays a much discussed topic which splits our German society into two camps. Quite unexpectedly, I have now found myself in the line of fire because I dared to express my opinion on this matter in public.
In December 2014, an organisation wanted to hold a charity concert for asylum seekers in my department store in Goerlitz, Upper Lusatia. Some friends there complained about this since some of the invitees were from countries that are officially classified as safe. I followed their concerns and therefore made use of my rights as proprietor and stopped the concert from taking place. Afterwards, I was asked to explain my decision in the regional newspaper. In the interview, I wanted to express the views of the silent majority on the current German immigration and asylum policies and initiate a sensible discussion on this matter. I did this in order to assume my social responsibility as citizen and private person.
Unfortunately, my answers were a little short and provocative and were therefore misunderstood. The press in Goerlitz and Luebeck, rather inclined towards the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) (1) twisted the statements and turned it into a sensation. As a result, many readers were outraged about my comments (in Luebeck, the topic is further journalistically exploited). However, many people understood that there is a sensible and constructive idea behind every statement of this interview, and no heartless xenophobia or racism whatsoever. These people wrote to me in serious and extensive replies to thank me for my courage, claiming that I took the words right out of their mouths.
Of course and without any reservation I agree that Europe should temporarily receive people who have fled from war, especially women and children, but only as long as there is an emergency situation and they cannot be received in their neighbouring countries. In any case, we should make sure the refugees are not exposed to any danger during their journey and become victims of reckless people traffickers. At the same time, the world community needs to make a continued effort to pacify the conflict regions so as not to let criminal gangs take over.
I spoke about the pogrom in Rwanda. Out of consideration for the pacifists of the free world, an open war was avoided and the world silently watched several million defenceless people being killed before taking action. It is high time that the international community stipulates binding rules on how to proceed in such cases with short-time military enforcement if necessary. This should not be undermined by the pacific “public opinion” which is blind to the reality. The powers which will do good eternally do evil.
They have also turned a blind eye on other internecine conflicts, for example in Srebrenica, where the Serbs killed 8,000 people. When Saddam Hussein was ready to flee abroad, “pacific” German chancellor Schröder decided to opt out of the alliance, in this case out of electoral reasons, and thus encouraged this criminal to stay the course.
The generosity towards economic refugees, including those who deliberately bring themselves into life-threatening situations to get into Europe, is not fitting. They undermine our legal system which stipulates the necessity of a visa for legal immigration. More than half of the German population sees this as an abuse of the system and does not support it. In Germany, these proactive refugees stand rootless and without a job, and in their home countries they leave a vacuum which leads to further deterioration of the national economy (2). We should do everything possible to encourage them to stay in their homelands, and, rather than spending so much money on their living and accommodation in Europe, partly in ghettos made up of housing containers, we should help them to build up an existence in their home countries. The Samaritans, however, should not act again as if they were colonial masters, this model is outdated. And they should not try to transfer our conditions 1:1 to the other countries. If, for example in agriculture, large fields are prepared, small farmers would be deprived of their existence; if used clothes are sent for charity, this inhibits the foundation of small textile factories.
The idea of Germany opening its borders without any restrictions is rejected by many citizens. Our government yet again wants to “do it all better”! Better for example than the governments of the USA, Australia, Switzerland, and many further countries which limit the influx of immigrants more effectively. Or better than former German governments. The USA built a fence between Texas and Mexico because they could not handle millions of illegal immigrants. For one year now, the current government of Australia, which has the international reputation of being an open, tolerant, and friendly continent, has been efficiently shielding the country against economic refugees who arrive by sea without visa. In this way, nobody risks their life anymore to get into the country. This new restrictive immigration and asylum policy is supported by the majority of the Australian population, in the same way as most German citizens agree with my proposals which head in the same direction.
The latest Christmas sermon of the German president and the New Year’s speech of the German chancellor who is always concerned with the maximum consensus have, in part, lead the people to demonstrate – supposedly the dumb and egoistic type of person. In reality, however, they are normal citizens who are worried that Germany will gamble its heritage away if the gates are opened without reservations. Everything that our ancestors gained in the past centuries seems to be jeopardised due to foreign influences – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right of self-determination, equal rights for women, suffrage, and jurisdiction that is independent of religion. This today becomes obvious in areas of high population density, for example Berlin Neukoelln (2). The newcomers bring their conflicts to us, we have seen this before.
The momentous decision on whether we really should receive millions of immigrants at once should not be taken by the government, but by the German parliament, and by two-thirds majority, as it is required in the case of constitutional amendments. The matter should be considered from all angles and charity should not be seen as the sole maxim.
Hereby, any discussion on whether the immigrants are religious and which God they believe in is unnecessary. Nowadays, Islam belongs as little to Germany as Christianity does. In the name of both, much injustice has been done. I think that there is no space for any of the two in the mind of an enlightened person, but in any case, faith is a private matter, also the belief in the Easter bunny and Father Christmas. Religion and politics are to be strictly separated.
If today it is dictated to the German population that they may need to receive half a million economic refugees, many of them feel betrayed. If their calculation is right, two millions more will come next year, due to the same reasons as the others. If our generous Samaritans were to act consistently, we would also need to receive these two million. But where would this lead us? If immigrants from India and Africa succeed in improving their economic situation by settling in Germany, the Sorcerer’s Apprentices of immigration will not be able to handle the influx any more; there are billions of people in Africa waiting to leave their countries (2)!
And what seems to be a good deed for some philanthropists is the starting point of new animosity and injustice. The more foreigners come and settle here, the more hostile will be the attitude of a large part of the population. This is, by the way, normal human behaviour, and it is utopian to think it could be changed. Has the time come for a new experiment in Germany? German communism has already failed! It made life miserable for several generations of people and brought death to a hundred million. If today’s moralisers win and their welcome doctrine is implemented, our children and grandchildren will be the ones to pay for it!
There has always been moderate migration in Germany and Europe. People from different countries have settled here and assimilated within two generations. And many Germans have emigrated. Immigration and emigration were balanced for a long time. At the end of the past century, however, the share of foreign citizens in Germany has surged from one or two percent to over ten percent. If this development continues, it is to be feared that we will gamble away a heritage of more than two thousand years within the time span of just one generation. Those with nothing to lose will not be bothered. However, a farmer for example, who inherited a farm and wants to pass it on to his children, will think differently. Should the “stateless fellows” be allowed to generously give away half his property to strangers?
With such a fast and sustained integration of too many refugees and asylum seekers, we also risk falling behind other nations in international comparison and losing our worldwide top-ranking position in science and technology. Our life style and standard will inevitably more and more resemble those of the migrants’ countries (3). It could be difficult to maintain the standards in the educational system, not only in the subject “German”. Those who have always lived in Germany would have to communicate in English with the new ones. But we are at home here and want to speak German.
When the Turkish statesman Erdogan visits Germany and claims in a football stadium that the assimilation of Turkish nationals in Germany is a crime against humanity, many Germans are alarmed. They do not want a state within a state (4), but that the citizens of Turkish descent integrate. With respect to one of my statements in the interview about Goerlitz, however, I must correct myself since there has been a change in the last years. My concerns of many years, that the majority circumstances will change within a few decades due to the massive influx of Turkish nationals as it occurred in the nineties, and that German citizens might soon be a minority in our country, are being dispelled. The influx from Turkey has now significantly decreased. In 2013 and 2014, as many Turkish people moved back to Turkey as came to Germany. I hope that this tendency will not reverse again.
My suggestion from the interview that Turkish nationals should voluntarily move back to Turkey as it was successfully initiated by former German chancellor Kohl in his time, was recently raised as well by the Danish government, as stated in the German-Turkish newspaper Deutsch-Türkische Nachrichten from 25.9. 2014. There is a concern all over Europe about the development of parallel societies where European law does not apply, and rather than German judges implementing justice, “justices of the peace” use Islamic mediation practices. In his current book “The Other Society”, the mayor of Neukoelln Heinz Buschkowski, describes this problem, narrating his own experiences (3).
Many of my colleagues of Turkish descent were born in Germany and are fully integrated here. We trust each other and I appreciate them a lot. I would personally regret it if they left us. However, some of their relatives hardly speak their new homeland’s language after ten or twenty years. I think language competence is the key to integration. If, for example I had not been able to read the patent literature in my mother tongue, German, I would not have achieved many of my inventions. So if German citizens of Turkish descent speak Turkish half of the time when at home, I think they fall behind when it comes to educational and professional qualifications. Due to lacking language skills they perform worse in school than their German classmates, not only in German, but also in other subjects. Then they are underestimated and thus seldom encouraged to go to secondary or grammar school or to study at university. University graduates of Turkish descent still constitute an exception in Germany. Here, Turkish nationals rather run fruit and vegetable shops and drive taxis, where they compete with the Kurds. They are rarely found in leading positions. This is very different in Turkey: there, people with the same opportunities become engineers, teachers or GPs, in a similar ratio as in Germany. It will not be in the genes as suggested by Thilo Sarrazin. Of course you will find many biographies which differ from this depiction. In our company, we want to pay more attention to specifically supporting our Turkish colleagues, for example offering language courses or giving them more responsibility. They are our friends!
I care a lot for the tradition and promotion of the German language. It is our heritage and I do not want any ideological, ignorant, silly people to fool around with it, providing a new word for “negro” every ten years, a word that I use without any discriminatory ideas whatsoever. The liberal politician Happach-Kasan came to my defence against the students from the University of Lübeck in the newspaper Lübecker Nachrichten (25.2.2015): “Wanting to prove that someone has a certain idealogical mindset by the usage of the word ‘negro’ is dogmatic and completely insensitive”. There was no doubt for her that Stöcker leads his company in an open-minded and tolerant manner. And that is exactly what I do! Stöcker also despises the claim to use both the female and the male form when referring to a person, resulting from a petty-minded sense of justice. And everyone uses it since nobody knows whether this form of fanaticism is justified or not. Nevertheless, this will not help women to get into the boards of directors of the large companies. I have a better solution to this problem which I explain further below. When the citizens have come to their senses, they will just forget about this irritating ballast, and I can hardly wait!
In Europe there is an unprecedented cultural diversity, resulting from the history and the characteristics of the single countries. We should preserve this treasure. The French love their wine, food, fashion and romantic adventures, and their Tricolore represents our common ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. The English love their fish and chips, five-o’clock tea, double deckers and cricket, and they do not succeed in eliminating the anachronistic privileges of the kings and earls. The Russians listen to their balalaika, eat caviar and borscht, drink liters and liters of vodka, and dismantle and rebuild their matryoshka dolls. Italian sings all day long and compose the best operas, they love mozzarella with tomatoes and basil, they eat pasta, pizza and olives, have great tailors and shoemakers, and the best ice cream. The Polish dress elegantly, they produced the best pope of all times, as well as Chopin and Marie Curie, and Poland smoothed the way to overcome communism. The proud Spanish fight bulls, eat tapas and supply us with Jamón Ibérico. Germans are known for being hard workers, punctual, honest and tidy. We philosophise, write poems, and organise. We are the country with the highest music culture, the best cars and machines. We rank at the top of the work in technologies and EUROIMMUN has played an important part in this.
The cultural diversity has shaped Europe over the centuries. If everything got mixed up, the number of ways of life and traditions would be lost. If millions and millions of people from other parts of the world came to Europe, who do not identify with the values of their host countries, but only focusing on improving their economic status, everything we stand for would die away and disappear. Most Europeans are against this. Every European country should preserve its identity. This is not about discrimination or xenophobia. I also do not want the Europeans to go and take over other parts of the world as we did in colonial times.
No country should give itself up, but protect its traditions, language and songs, which give its citizens a feeling of affiliation and comfort. We should not try too hard to impress others by copying them. We do not have to curry favour with the Americans and should avoid anglicisms where German words can be used. If our children mostly learn American repertoires in the music classes, as it is the case in some schools in Luebeck, our own songs will fall behind. We should not sing “Happy birthday” here, but much rather German birthday songs. You can show that you are cosmopolitan by other means, if you really think this is necessary. We have lovely German folk songs which we should sing most of the time, and only occasionally the imported ones, not the other way around.
I think Germany should not be seen as an immigration country and Europe not as a continent for immigrations, because we are already populated densely enough, as opposed to America at its time, of maybe today Canada or Australia, or, thousand years ago, Poland. We do not need others’ help to finance our pensions, this is only a cheap excuse. If it was necessary, we could restrict ourselves a bit more, without any problems at all. It would be fairly embarrassing if the new residents had to be exploited for this cause. They would be busy for decades adapting to living here any-way and would be missed in their homelands. We have completely different options.
Let us develop a “welcoming culture” for our own offspring! Entrepreneurs and politicians should help young people to harmonise job and family life! EUROIMMUN has been an example for this for many years: in our company kindergarten, more than 150 employees’ children are taken care of all day, starting from six months of age. The school children are brought back from school by a driver and are looked after at the after-school club, our teachers supervise them doing their homework.
Most of the children highly appreciate the time they spend with their nursery teachers during the week and spending their free time with their parents. Fathers and mothers get back to work only a few months after the baby is born, receive the same salary as before, and the company saves itself the effort of introducing persons to replace the new parents. Anyone who rather wants to take care of their children full time does obviously not have to use this service.
Even though many people might still believe it, the idea that a mother belongs into the kitchen and has to sacrifice half a professional life to the family is outdated. While others follow their career, she is torn out of her job, loses her own income and falls behind. All the competence acquired with so much effort and hard work is unused and lost, she is in a bad mood, and re-entering the job many years later costs her a huge effort, almost as much as a new training, and is often linked to demotion.
I appeal to society’s sense of reason: give both mothers and fathers of all families the chance to freely develop themselves professionally and exercise their learnt profession all their lives, instead of sending one parent into an obligatory break to take care of the children for years! This is also how EUROIMMUN handles the scarcity of qualified staff!
If these measures are applied more often, the boards of managers will automatically fill up with women, and owing to their qualification, not because it is stipulated by the state. Now we would only need to educate men to exercise their equal rights in the household (I personally am a pioneer in this field!). These conditions can encourage people to have children at a biologically reasonable age, i.e. at the start of their professional lives or their university career, and not only when a doctor is needed alongside the husband to become pregnant. Welcome, dear children, you are chosen to finance our pensions!
Shortly after my unfortunate interview had been published, the president of the University of Lübeck, Prof. Hendrik Lehnert felt compelled to announce the following: “Tolerance, open-mindedness and a strong commitment to multicultural thinking and acting are inalienable values of our campus culture. We therefore clearly distance ourselves from the ideas stated by Prof. Dr. Winfried Stöcker in his interview with Sächsische Zeitung.”
That was not fair. The president should have informed himself about the background of that twisted interview in the first place. He knows the company EUROIMMUN in all its facets and we had before conducted a number of scientific projects together. He could not have possibly missed the fact that especially this company and its managing director cannot be outdone when it comes to tolerance and open-mindedness. I have always proved this. Scientists from all over the world are guests in our company. I respect every person, no matter their origin or sex. I care for justice and fair working conditions. Whoever visits this company which I founded and direct, at any of our sites in the world, praises the friendly and familiar, non-discriminatory atmosphere. We have just recently been ranked 7th of 620,463 evaluations of German companies with respect to our treatment of women (5), even though we do not always explicitly use the female German form when we address women.
Since he is scared that this university, which he was recently named president of, might become affected, Prof. Hendrik Lehnert just dropped a renowned scientist and international entrepreneur, who had already done so much for the University of Lübeck like a hot potato when his university medicine was at stake and just recklessly and carelessly delivered me to the press who just seek sensations. His comments only really got the thing boiling, a much appreciated gift to the journalists in the boring time before Christmas. Especially a university should allow a variety of ideas and ways of thinking! And this president does not have an absolute monopoly on the truth.
My Goerlitz interview can also be diametrically assessed. This was proved by several hundreds of replies which reached me afterwards. “I have read your clear and explicit words and would like to thank your very much for this unmistakeable message. If our regional politicians and journalists now claim you have damaged the antique Goerlitz department store, I just think this is a blunt attempt to hinder diversity of opinion, and I more and more see us risking falling back into a state which we really wanted to overcome with the political changes in 1990.” “Mr. Stöcker is right with his statements. He openly says what many citizens think, but keep quiet about”, “My respect, Mr. Stöcker, you have the courage to swim against the stream!”, “After reading your interview, I feel I must ask you to please stay as you are.”, “I completely share your concerns about illegal immigration”, “Our thoughts exactly! We would like to sincerely thank you for your explicit words, as well as for having the courage to speak out an unpleasant truth” and from my laboratories: “We stand behind you!”
Also my customers seem to see me in a better light than the president of the University of Lübeck. They have been loyal to me because they have known me for a long time and know that I am a kind-hearted person and not guided by any perfidious reasons.
These supporters will not let any journalist or politician tell them what to think. Eventually, in a democracy, votes are counted, no matter whether they are “good or bad votes” and if the majority of the German population is not in favour of an unbalanced influx of people from remote countries, politics needs to adapt to this. It does not suit our society that some model democrats want to impose their views on people who have different opinions and label them as morally inferior and discriminate against them as dissidents (6, 7).
Even two months later, Prof. Lehnert taught his students, as quoted in the newspaper Lübecker Nachrichten from 21.2.2015, he was thankful for the situation arisen from the Goerlitz interview as “it helped them to show who we are and what we stand for, for open-mindedness and tolerance”. Classes in Pharisaism – being bothered about trivialites (he said “negro”!) and not wanting or not being able to see the whole context. He forgot about the Christian ideas, such as forbearance and forgiveness.
Mr. Lehnert: I have been standing for all this for years, with all my heart and all my deeds, and moreover for consideration, generosity, reason, vision, and, most of all, democracy and respect for the others’ opinions, but not for smear campaigns against independent minds.
On the occasion of an event at the beginning of 2015, when the legal status of the University of Lübeck was changed to a foundation, a very clever member of the student senate affirmed: “Money can also smell”, and that possible financial help from EUROIMMUN director Winfried Stöcker should clearly be rejected. “Nothing can excuse his racist comments in that newspaper interview”. This statement was published in Lübecker Nachrichten. The best opportunity to show a successful entrepreneur his limits. Also, an affront to my 2,000 hard-working and creative employees who honestly generated the provided funds (amounting to up to nearly one million Euros per year). Nothing could be read about the president of the university objecting to such unmannerly comments. Therefore, one must conclude that he either shares that view or is afraid of the students. And now I would like to make one thing clear: Nostra pecunia non olet. EUROIMMUN will not voluntarily provide further financial funding for the university as long as this president is in charge. He has succeeded with something the regional government could not achieve five years ago: that Luebeck’s leading biotech company will now find another site for expansion and several very successful and exemplary cooperation projects will be cancelled.
- The German print and publishing society “Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft mbH” (ddvg) is co-owner of the newspapers Lübecker Nachrichten, Sächsische Zeitung and Nordbayerische Nachrichten. On its website, it describes its task as “professional shareholding management for the proprietary, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The aim is to economically manage the shares, to increase the substance, and therewith, simultaneously, contribute financially to the work of the SPD.”I think it is a scandal that the SPD has a share in press organs, even alongside its newspaper “Vorwärts”, unnoticed by the public, and therefore has the possibility of secretly influencing the public opinion. Knowing this, it does not surprise that any statements which differ from the “class” point of view, such as made in the Goerlitz interview, are strongly discriminated against that you get the impression the different-minded stands alone. Current polls, however, like the one by German radio channel Deutschlandfunk from February 2015 show that the contrary applies!By such a media fudge, the comrades can achieve what seems to be majorities for some political views which tactically help the party and which help them to make the CDU compliant. Suffrage from 16 years of age, immigration of Turkish nationals to Germany, retirement at the age of 63, minimum wage, setting limits to the rental prices, language mix-up, exaggerated inclusion, etc. Addendum (11.3.2015): Many further daily newspapers are partly or completely owned by the SPD. Inge Wettig-Danielmeier, SPD general trustee, said: “From a participation of 30%, our requirements for coverage cannot be ignored”. And my assumption: every immigrant is an SPD voter!
- David Signer: Eine Bankrotterklärung Afrikas. “The real scandal behind the refugee drama of Lampedusa is not Europe shielding itself, but the indifference of the African governments towards the exodus.” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 28th February 2015.
- Paul Collier: Massenimmigration und Zusammenhalt. “Immigration has up to now been a moderate gain. A further increase however should be restricted. Too much ethnic-cultural diversity threatens social cohesion and thus the bases of prosperity.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9th March 2015.
- Heinz Buschkowsky: Die andere Gesellschaft (The Other Society), 2014, Ullstein-Verlag, ISBN-10:3-550-08050-6.
- In a current, inter-branch data evaluation, the career platform “kununu” has identified the TOP 10 of the companies with best treatment of women, based on 620,463 evaluations of German employers. EUROIMMUN ranks amongst them (rank 7, Vienna, press information, 3rd March 2015)!
- Mr. Kretzschmar writes in the Goerlitz newspaper StadtBILD (independent of ddvg) from February 2015: “Whilst media, parties and administrations publicly demand freedom of speech and tolerance, any critiques are met with systemic, inter-linked actions of marginalisation and intimidation, professional discrimination, withdrawal of responsibilities, and denigration. In those who demand tolerance, you rather notice a destructive intolerance. People who think differently are generally classified as mob… hate campaigns against patriots poisen community life”.
- Journalist Bettina Röhl says: “The left mainstream is replacing the constitution. Anyone who expresses their opinion (on immigration and asylum policy), which contradicts the politically correct mainstream or which does not go with it, is not physically persecuted. However, they are automatically socially marginalised. They are then called a ‘racist’ or ‘Nazi’. They are automatically a ‘disgrace to Germany’. Sanctions are noticeable.”