In Communist East Germany, truth-telling involved risks. The penalty for it was often loss of one’s professional career and social status, if not more. Today, challenging the state-approved narrative in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Germany can sometimes have similar consequences.
Germany’s intelligence chief now faces the risk of losing his job for contradicting Merkel over what took place at recent demonstrations in the eastern German city of Chemnitz.
Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, BfV, has dismissed claims that right-wing gangs chased non-Germans during the late August demonstrations in Chemnitz, which were held after the fatal stabbing of a German by a group of migrants. That news flew in the face of Chancellor Merkel’s repeated use of the charge of a “hunt on foreigners” in describing the incidents.
“We have video recordings of [people] hunting down others, of unruly assemblies, and hate in the streets, and that has nothing to do with our constitutional state,” Merkel initially claimed after residents of Chemnitz took to the streets in reaction the deadly stabbing.
Merkel’s statement echoed media reports that talked of demonstrators acting as “mob” and carrying out a “pogrom” and “witch hunt” against foreigners.