About 20 percent of Germans have a "latent" hatred for Jews, according to a new study published by an independent committee of experts appointed by the German parliament.
The German-language study was published in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.
The study found that hatred of Jews is common throughout large swathes of German society: Far from being the exclusive province of the far right or radical Islamists, it is deeply rooted in the German mainstream.
At a very young age, German schoolchildren are already using the word "Jew" as an insult, the report found, and "Jew" is commonly heard as a curse word in the playground. In local soccer leagues throughout Germany, anti-Semitic jeers aimed at Jewish teams are common, including "Jews to the gas," "Bring back Auschwitz" and "Burn the synagogues."
"Anti-Semitism in our society is based on widespread prejudices, cliches with deep roots and pure ignorance about everything to do with Jews and Judaism," wrote one of the report's authors, Dr. Peter Longerich.
The report interwove quotes from the individual authors into its general factual findings.
The committee of experts was appointed by the Bundestag in 2008 - the 70th anniversary of the Nazis' Kristallnacht pogrom - as part of a parliamentary bid to boost Germany's efforts to fight anti-Semitism. The committee was supposed to give the Bundestag periodic reports as well as recommendations for combating Jew-hatred.
The study criticized the way Germany deals with anti-Semitism. "There is no comprehensive strategy for fighting anti-Semitism in Germany," said another of the authors, Dr. Juliane Wetzel.
But despite the grim situation in Germany, the report noted that anti-Semitism is much worse in many other European countries, including Poland, Hungary and Portugal.
The 204-page report, titled "Anti-Semitism in Germany," can be read in German at http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/17/077/1707700.pdf.