Duelling Society Race Row Erupts
A student duelling society in Mannheim caused a stir recently by admitting a non-European member.
Duellers in Munich objected to the fact a Mannheim club had allowed the member, with an Asian background, to join, despite his service in the German army. They claim their opinions are not formed from some "Aryan" ideology such as what fed the Nazi hysteria back in the '30s. They debate whether an immigrant can be a true German and consequently part of what they say is a quintessentially German institution.
To quote the BBC, "There was a feeling from the more conservative elements in Bavaria that, according to internal documents, members with 'non-European facial and bodily characteristics' did not qualify as Germans and so could not join what the objectors see as a bastion of true German identity. 'Especially in times of rising immigration, it is not acceptable that people who are not from the German family tree should be admitted to the Burschenschaften,' as one document puts it."
The threatened club responded with a statement on its website signed by its spokesman, Kai-Ming Au. It said that the club would fight strongly against the attempt to expel it from the national association and would push for reform at national level.
A spokesman for the umbrella organisation of the fraternities in Germany said there had been long discussions and it had been decided not to expel the Mannheim club, though there would be further discussions.