- The Washington Times - Friday, March 29, 2002

BERLIN Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt says he thinks Germans are instinctively xenophobic.

Mr. Schmidt, 83, made the comments in a new book, "Hand on Heart," which will be published next month. He said politicians overreacted after the Nazi era in guiding Germany's immigration policy.

"We brought in far too many foreigners as a result of idealistic thinking that resulted from the experience of the Third Reich," he wrote.

"We have 7 million foreigners today who are not integrated, many of whom do not want to be integrated and who are also not helped to integrate," the former Social Democrat chancellor said. "We Germans are unable to assimilate all 7 million. The Germans also do not want to do this. They are to a large extent xenophobic."

His remarks do not help Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, also a Social Democrat, who last week pushed an immigration bill through the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat.

The bill paves the way for Germany to accept permanently more skilled foreign workers and lays out new policies to improve integration. It angered opposition parties, who say Germany needs fewer immigrants.

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