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'Not Aryan Enough': Duelling Club Split Over Member's Expulsion (16 June 2011) 

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Old 06-16-2011, 12:01 PM
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'Not Aryan Enough': Duelling Club Split Over Member's Expulsion (16 June 2011)

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A row with uncomfortable echoes of the past is gripping the world of Germany's student duelling societies after a club admitted a non-European member.

Duellers in Munich objected to the fact a Mannheim club had allowed a member with an Asian background to join, despite his service in the German army.

Mannheim members stood by their decision, and called for a more liberal direction for the clubs.

The clubs' national association insisted they were not racist.

Stefan Dobner, its spokesman, said it was wrong to say the row was over an "Aryan" condition of membership for duelling societies.

The fraternities condemned racism, he said.

Under Hitler, Germany enacted race laws which stressed the superiority of the "Aryan race", as northern Europeans were defined by the Nazis.

About 1,300 Germans are active members of the 100 or so student duelling societies, or Burschenschaften, which also count some 10,000 past members.

Swords and scars

The current argument is over whether people with immigrant backgrounds can be true Germans, and part of what some see as a quintessentially German institution, the BBC's Stephen Evans reports from Berlin.

The row has thrown into disarray an arcane and secretive world of fraternities forged through duelling, he says.

Such societies are usually male and involve dressing up in traditional 19th Century outfits, as well as drinking and fighting with swords.

Real swords are used and the men who join often sport a scar on their cheeks to show they have fought a real duel.

The Mannheim issue was to be debated at the annual meeting of the societies to be held in the town of Eisenach this weekend.

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, our correspondent says.

"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.

Different times

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.

The difficulty for the associations is that Germany has changed, our correspondent adds.

Citizenship used to be based on "blood lines" - in other words, immigrants were excluded - and the duelling clubs mirrored that idea.

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13796460

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Old 06-16-2011, 12:02 PM
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Re: 'Not Aryan Enough': Duelling Club Split Over Member's Expulsion (16 June 2011)

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The fossilised world of Germany's student-duelling clubs was in turmoil yesterday after the national umbrella organisation was shown to have adopted a Nazi-style race code demanding the banning of members with foreign parents on the grounds that they were insufficiently "Aryan".


Germany has over 100, mostly right-wing, student duelling clubs or Burschenschaften, which claim an almost exclusively male membership of around 10,000. Members wear 19th-century uniforms and take part in ritualised fencing and beer-drinking competitions.

But the normally secretive workings of the Burschenschaften received embarrassing publicity yesterday after disclosures that the umbrella organisation was threatening to expel one club for admitting a German citizen with Chinese parents.

The duelling-club member in question was not named but Burschenschaft documents leaked to Der Spiegel magazine revealed that he was a member of the Hansea duelling club in the western city of Mannheim. They said he held German citizenship and had also served in the German army. "He wears duelling-club colours with pride and believes in the German Fatherland" is how the documents described him.

Burschenschaft members attending their national annual general meeting in the historic eastern town of Eisenach were yesterday being asked to vote on a motion to expel the Hansea club for admitting the member with Chinese parents. According to the umbrella organisation's race code, he did not qualify as a member of the "German people".

Der Spiegel said the motion was accompanied by legal documents drawn up for the umbrella group by the Alte Breslauer duelling club in Bonn and apparently approved by a majority of the country's Burschenschaften. The documents stipulated that prospective members with "non-European facial and bodily characteristics" did not qualify as Germans. The documents, written in part by a right-wing member of the Bavarian conservative party, also said: "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."

The race code row was last night threatening to split the Burschenschaften. Several delegates at the Eisenach meeting were said to be highly critical of the expulsion motion. One described it as "like introducing an Aryan identity card". No Burschenschaft spokesmen commented officially.

Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...n-2298071.html

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:11 PM
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Re: 'Not Aryan Enough': Duelling Club Split Over Member's Expulsion (16 June 2011)

So if an exclusively black organisation excluded a black member for being too white, would it cause the same furore?.

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:59 PM
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Re: 'Not Aryan Enough': Duelling Club Split Over Member's Expulsion (16 June 2011)

I think it is fair enough, only Japanese are allowed to join the historic Bushido clubs in Japan. No one screams about that, they just start their own clubs. Maybe ze germans should do the same instead of changing club rules.

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