A growing number of Germans are abandoning neighborhoods in which they have lived all their lives, and others are leaving Germany for good, as mass immigration transforms parts of the country beyond recognition.
Data from the German statistics agency, Destatis, shows that 138,000 Germans left Germany in 2015. More are expected to emigrate in 2016. In a story on brain drain titled, "German talent is leaving the country in droves," Die Welt reported that more than 1.5 million Germans, many of them highly educated, left Germany during the past decade.
The statistics do not give a reason why Germans are emigrating, but anecdotal evidence indicates that many are waking up to the true cost — financial, social and cultural — of Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow more than one million mostly Muslim migrants to enter the country in 2015. At least 300,000 more migrants are expected to arrive in Germany in 2016, according to Frank-Jürgen Weise, the head of the country's migration office, BAMF.
Mass migration has — among many other problems — contributed to a growing sense of insecurity in Germany, which is facing a spike in migrant crime, including an epidemic of rapes and sexual assaults. Mass migration is also accelerating the Islamization of Germany. Many Germans appear to be losing hope about the future direction of their country.
At the height of the migrant crisis in October 2015, some 800 citizens gathered at a town hall meeting in Kassel/Lohfelden to protest a unilateral decision by the local government to set up migrant shelters in the city. The President of Kassel, Walter Lübcke, responded by telling those who disagree with the government's open-door immigration policy that they are "free to leave Germany at any time."
This attitude was echoed in an audacious essay published in October 2016 by the newspaper Der Freitag, (also published by Huffington Post Deutschland, which subsequently deleted the post). In the article, an 18-year-old Syrian migrant named Aras Bacho called on Germans who are angry about the migrant crisis to leave Germany. He wrote:
"We refugees... are fed up with the angry citizens (Wutbürger). They insult and agitate like crazy.... There are always these incitements by unemployed racists (Wutbürgern), who spend all their time on the Internet and wait until an article about refugees appears on the Internet. Then it starts with shameless comments....
"Hello, you unemployed angry citizens (Wutbürger) on the Internet. How educated are you? How long will you continue to distort the truth? Do you not know that you are spreading lies every day? What would you have done if you were in their shoes? Well, you would have run away!
"We refugees... do not want to live in the same country with you. You can, and I think you should, leave Germany. And please take Saxony and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) with you.
"Germany does not fit you, why do you live here? Why do you not go to another country? If this is your country, dear angry citizens (Wutbürger), then behave normal. Otherwise you can simply flee from Germany and look for a new home. Go to America to Donald Trump, he will love you very much. We are sick of you!"
In May 2016, the newsmagazine, Focus, reported that Germans have been moving to Hungary. A real estate agent in a town near Lake Balaton, a popular tourist destination in western Hungary, said that 80% of the Germans relocating there cite the migration crisis as the main reason for their desire to leave Germany.
An anonymous German citizen who emigrated from Germany recently wrote an "Open Letter to the German Government." The document, which was published on the website Politically Incorrect, states:
"A few months ago I emigrated from Germany. My decision was not for economic gain but primarily because of my dissatisfaction with the current political and social conditions in my homeland. In other words, I think that I and especially my offspring may lead a better life somewhere else. 'Better' for me in this context is primarily a life of freedom, self-determination and decent wages with respect to taxation.
"I do not, however, want to close the door behind me quietly and just go. I would hereby like to explain in a constructive way why I decided to leave Germany.
1. "I believe that Islam does not belong to Germany. I regard it as a foreign entity which has brought the West more problems than benefits. In my opinion, many followers of this religion are rude, demanding and despise Germany. Instead of halting the Islamization of Germany (and the consequent demise of our culture and freedom), most politicians seem to me to be more concerned about getting reelected, and therefore they prefer to ignore or downplay the Islam problem.
2. "I believe that German streets are less secure than they should be given our technological, legal and financial opportunities.
3. "I believe that the EU has a democratic deficit which limits my influence as a democratic citizen.
4. "I believe that immigration is producing major and irreversible changes in German society. I am angry that this is happening without the direct approval of German citizens, but is being dictated by you to German citizens and the next generation.
5. "I believe that the German media is increasingly giving up its neutrality, and that freedom of expression in this country is only possible in a limited way.
6. "I believe that in Germany sluggards are courted but the diligent are scourged.
7. "I believe that it is a shame that in Germany Jews must again be afraid to be Jews."
Many Germans have noted the trend toward reverse integration, in which German families are expected to adapt to the customs and mores of migrants, rather than the other way around.
On October 14, the Munich-based newspaper Tageszeitung published a heartfelt letter from "Anna," a mother of two, who wrote about her decision to move her family out of the city because migrants were making her life there impossible. In the letter, addressed to Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter, she wrote:
"Today I want to write you a kind of farewell letter (Abschiedsbrief) about why I and my family are leaving the city, even though probably no one cares.
"I am 35 years old, living here with my two young sons and my husband in an upscale semi-detached house with parking. So you could say we are very well off for Munich standards.... We live very well with plenty of space and next to a green park. So why would a family like us decide to leave the city? ....
"I assume that your children do not use public facilities, that they do not use public transportation, and that they do not attend public schools in "problem areas." I also assume that you and other politicians rarely if ever go for walks here.
"So on a Monday morning I attended a neighborhood women's breakfast that was sponsored by the City of Munich. Here I met about 6-8 mothers, some with their children. All of the women wore headscarves and none of them spoke German. The organizers of the event quickly informed me I will probably find it hard to integrate myself here (their exact words!!!). I should note that I am German. I speak fluent German and I do not wear a headscarf. So I smiled a little and said I would try to integrate myself. Unfortunately, I brought a salami and ham sandwich to the breakfast, to which everyone was asked to bring something. So of course I had even less chance of integrating.
"I was not able to speak German to anyone at this women's breakfast, which is actually supposed to promote integration, nor was anyone interested in doing so. The organizers did not insist on anyone speaking German, and the women, who appeared to be part of an established Arab-Turkish group, simply wanted to use the room.
"I then asked about the family brunch.... I was advised that the brunch would be held in separate rooms. Men and women separately. At first I thought it was a bad joke. Unfortunately, it was not. ....
"So my impression of these events to promote integration is miserable. No interchange takes place at all!!! How can the City of Munich tolerate such a thing? In my view, the entire concept of these events to promote integration must be called into question.... I was informed that I am not allowed to include pork in my child's lunchbox!!! Hello?! We are in Germany here! ....
"In summary, I find conditions here that make me feel that we are not really wanted here. That our family does not really fit in here. My husband sometimes says he has the feeling that we are now the largest minority with no lobby. For each group there is an institution, a location, a public interest, but for us, a heterosexual married couple with two children, not unemployed, neither handicapped nor Islamic, for people like us there is no longer any interest.
"When I mentioned at my son's preschool that we are considering moving out of the city and I told them the reasons why, I was vigorously attacked by the school's leadership. Because of people like us, they said, integration does not work, precisely because we remove our children. At least two other mothers have become wildly abusive. The management has now branded me "xenophobic."
"This is exactly the reason why people like me lose their patience and we choose to vote for other political parties.... Quite honestly, I have traveled half the world, have more foreign friends than German and have absolutely no prejudices or aversions to people because of their origin. I have seen much of the world and I know that the way integration is done here will cause others to come to the same conclusion as we have: either we send our children to private schools and kindergartens, or we move to other communities. Well then, so long!!!!!!!!!!!"
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.