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Not enough migrants in German politics

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"What's your Heimat?" (home country), W. Michael Blumenthal, the founding director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, was asked in 2014, the year of his farewell from Germany.

Blumenthal was born in 1925 in Oranienburg, near Berlin, and grew up in the capital, before being forced to flee with his parents in 1939. The family survived the war in Shanghai, China, before settling in the United States.

Blumenthal answered without hesitation at the time: "My home is the US." No surprise there. Blumenthal is a former US Treasury secretary who worked in Jimmy Carter's administration exactly 30 years after he first set foot on American soil in San Francisco as a 21-year-old stateless refugee with $200 in his pocket and little formal education. At his farewell event in Berlin, Blumenthal also highlighted the similarities between the German capital and New York — a reference to the colorful and multicultural nature of both cities. He was undoubtedly right.

But what about the state of politics in Germany? Is it also as colorful and multicultural as the streets of Berlin? And can a migrant or refugee hold a political office here?

DW editor Maissun Melhem

In principle, yes, although it has only happened once before. And at that time — not even 10 years ago — there was a serious debate in Germany about whether the "Asian" appearance of Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler was compatible with his position. Rösler, of all people, who came to Germany from Vietnam when he was nine months old, grew up with German adoptive parents and is thoroughly socialized here. And why should a politician's appearance and origin play any role at all in his or her political career?

In just over a week, Germany goes to the polls to elect a new Bundestag (parliament). We can be proud of the fact that........

© Deutsche Welle

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