We assessed the degree of discomfort reported by U.S. and Czech Holocaust survivors (Study 1) and Jewish American college students (Study 2) to the prospect of physical proximity to a wide range of contemporary Germans with varying linkages to Nazi Germany, and a range of objects or activities associated with Germany (e.g., riding in a Volkswagen). On both measures, there was a very wide range of aversions, from almost absent to almost complete. A substantial number of participants were uncomfortable with Germans born after World War II. The Czech survivors showed the least aversion, less than the students, probably because the Czechs had a great deal of experience with Germans and German culture prior to and following World War II. Trait forgiveness did not predict aversion. Degree of blame for Germans and Jewish identity predicted current aversion. German essentialism-the idea that "Germanness" is inherent, indelible, uniform, and transmitted across generations-may be the best predictor of total German person aversion and is the only predictor that can easily explain the fact that that many individuals are uncomfortable living near Germans who were born after World War II.
- Ethnic aversions
- Holocaust survivors
- Social perception
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations