Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 5:00pm
LLC South Performance Hall
In fall of 2015, Angela Merkel’s decision to come to the aid of Syrian refugees in Germany not only changed the fate of millions of people, but also influenced the political climate in contemporary German society like no other political event since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. The resulting so-called “refugee crisis” still dominates the current political debates. Social media and the news work hard to keep this topic alive a full three years after the initial wave of refugees.
Dr. Lechner, a UO Department of German and Scandinavian Alumna, whose current work took her to Germany where she helps integrate refugees into German society will examine how the events of 2015 changed the political climate in Germany. She will discuss how the German far right uses the suffering of millions to gain political power and spread hatred. She will trace how the “Willkommenskultur” deteriorated into public displays of xenophobia in Germany and in a larger European context. Lechner argues that Germany has reached a threshold: will Germany follow the European trend of rising extremism or can the country overcome the menace of neo fascist politics?