Protecting Jewish life and projects for democracy
A strong signal for diversity and tolerance

In Germany there are a great many initiatives to foster good and peaceful co-existence – democracy lives from people getting involved and becoming pro-active. By far the largest federal programme to promote democracy is called Live Democracy! Cohesion through Participation is another important programme. Here is an overview of democracy support, memorial sites and the protection of Jewish life in our country.

A rear view of somebody wearing a kippa over short hair

In view of German history, Jewish life in Germany is a reason for joy and gratitude

Photo: imago images/epd

The two large federal programmes, Live Democracy! and Cohesion through Participation receive total annual assistance of over 125 million euros, and will be continued in the years to come.

This sets a clear signal that Germany will not accept hatred, racism or anti-Semitism. The German government is also working in a wide variety of ways to ensure that Jews can live in Germany without fear and without threat.

Criminal prosecution and prevention

Anti-Semitic actions are a crime in Germany. The German government-approved bill to combat right-wing extremism and hate crimes will in future ensure that any anti-Semitic motive will increase the penalty. 

In addition to tightening up legislation and rigorously investigating crimes, the German government is active in the field of prevention. It has supported civil engagement for years. It promotes and strengthens those working actively at local level for democracy and thus addresses every form of extremism. In July 2016, for instance, the German government presented the Strategy to Prevent Extremism and Promote Democracy. The main pillars are the programmes Live Democracy! and Cohesion through Participation.

Under the programme Live Democracy! the German government supports projects nationwide that are working to foster democracy and diversity and to combat enmity. The project is assisting a great many projects and activities with local, regional and supraregional focuses. In the new phase of assistance, which runs until 2024, one important priority is stepping up the fight against right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism. The many local partnerships for democracy implement specific activities at local level to promote diversity and democracy. To get young people involved, participatory youth funds can also be established. The other core goals of the ongoing phase of the project (2020 to 2024) are:

  • Promoting democracy
  • Shaping diversity
  • Preventing extremism.

Keeping memories alive

Keeping the memory of the Shoah alive and honouring the memory of the victims is a permanent responsibility. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of both the Second World War and the Shoah – a reason to look in even more depth at the Nationalist Socialist period, and to encourage new forms of education work in the memorial sites and documentation centres. To this end, in April 2019, the German government launched the Jugend erinnert (young people remember) programme. The aim is to help memorial sites to address more young people, by adopting contemporary communication techniques and thus keep the memories alive in future generations.

Cabinet Committee and Action Plan Against Racism

On 18 March, the German government set up the Cabinet Committee "to combat right-wing extremism and racism". This committee will prepare other measures, including preventive measures, designed to effectively combat right-wing extremism, racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of group-related enmity in Germany.

In 2017, the German government adopted the National Action Plan Against Racism. It lays out the positions and the measures taken by federal, state and local governments in Germany to combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. You will find a clear explanation of other important measures taken by the German government in the fight against right-wing extremism here

Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life

The German government has appointed a Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany. Since May 2018 the commissioner has been Felix Klein. As  Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany, it is his job to coordinate measures to promote Jewish life and to fight anti-Semitism at inter-ministerial level. He is also the contact person for Jewish groups and civil society organisations, and mediator for national, state and civil society activities to combat anti-Semitism.

Commission of federal and state governments

The Federal Government Commissioner also coordinates a permanent commission of federal and state governments to combat anti-Semitism and protect Jewish life. The commission’s job is to produce recommendations on ways of preventing and tackling anti-Semitism and protecting Jewish life as well as providing recommendations and ideas for memorial work and for remembering the Shoah.