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How to Deport an Arab: Administration and Terror in 1972 West Germany

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Abstract:

In the wake of Palestinian guerrilla organization Black September’s fatal hostage-taking at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, the West German government initiated an unprecedented wave of political deportation. The Ministry of Interior outlawed the legally-registered organizations of Palestinian students and workers and made prior membership the retroactive grounds for expulsion from the country. Authorities deported over 150 Arab men and women in the last months of 1972, many within hours of arrest, and refused entry into the country to an additional 2,500. Student groups and human rights organizations worldwide protested the deportation wave, arguing correctly that the measures broke with the reputation West Germany had developed through the 1960s as a relatively tolerant site of asylum and free association for foreign dissidents and activists.
My paper accounts for the about-face in West German state practice through the use of state archival sources. I show that factions within the West German ministries had been clamoring for repression of foreign political organizations since the early 1960s but had been stymied by the courts and a vocal public, both of which took a liberal line in defending the political rights of foreigners. Until September 1972, state officials and police unsuccessfully appealed to the principle of administration and the need to preemptively deal with political threats before they happened against the public appeal to the constitution, which protected political expression for non-Germans. The Munich attacks created a sea change. When a small fraction of foreign activists turned to terrorist tactics, public opinion hardened against the practice of non-German politics on West German soil and their tacit acceptance allowed the space of administration the expand enough for a campaign of political deportation unthinkable in the 1960s. My paper demonstrates how state responses to terror in West Germany worked between the poles of administration and law and revisits a moment of strident state action invisible in histories of the postwar Federal Republic.
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qslobodi@wellesley.edu (1), contact (1), person (1), inform (1), pleas (1),
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Association:
Name: Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies
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http://www.ces.columbia.edu


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p399786_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Slobodian, Quinn. "How to Deport an Arab: Administration and Terror in 1972 West Germany" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p399786_index.html>

APA Citation:

Slobodian, Q. "How to Deport an Arab: Administration and Terror in 1972 West Germany" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada Online <PDF>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p399786_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In the wake of Palestinian guerrilla organization Black September’s fatal hostage-taking at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, the West German government initiated an unprecedented wave of political deportation. The Ministry of Interior outlawed the legally-registered organizations of Palestinian students and workers and made prior membership the retroactive grounds for expulsion from the country. Authorities deported over 150 Arab men and women in the last months of 1972, many within hours of arrest, and refused entry into the country to an additional 2,500. Student groups and human rights organizations worldwide protested the deportation wave, arguing correctly that the measures broke with the reputation West Germany had developed through the 1960s as a relatively tolerant site of asylum and free association for foreign dissidents and activists.
My paper accounts for the about-face in West German state practice through the use of state archival sources. I show that factions within the West German ministries had been clamoring for repression of foreign political organizations since the early 1960s but had been stymied by the courts and a vocal public, both of which took a liberal line in defending the political rights of foreigners. Until September 1972, state officials and police unsuccessfully appealed to the principle of administration and the need to preemptively deal with political threats before they happened against the public appeal to the constitution, which protected political expression for non-Germans. The Munich attacks created a sea change. When a small fraction of foreign activists turned to terrorist tactics, public opinion hardened against the practice of non-German politics on West German soil and their tacit acceptance allowed the space of administration the expand enough for a campaign of political deportation unthinkable in the 1960s. My paper demonstrates how state responses to terror in West Germany worked between the poles of administration and law and revisits a moment of strident state action invisible in histories of the postwar Federal Republic.


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