Karlsruhe Dialogues 2009

Right-Wing Extremism in Europe today

Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen



Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen was born in 1934 in Berlin and was FDP-member (Free Democratic Party) of the Bundestag. After she had studied chant and languages in Berlin, Perugia and Rome from 1954 to 1959, and had worked as an interpreter and translator, she worked as a journalist for radio, TV (for example Sender Freies Berlin) as well as for journals and newspapers (for example DIE ZEIT). In 1968 she joined the FDP in Munich, where she had been City Council from 1972 to 1985.

In addition, she was chairwoman of the FDP-faction and from 1982 to 1984 chairwoman of the FDP-local committee Munich. In the year 1985 she returned to Berlin, where as a senator she was concerned with adolescence and family interests until 1989. As such, she pled for the construction of more day-care facilities for children and dealt with the equality of opportunity for women, who have both a job and family. Furthermore, she was secretary general of her party from 1988 to 1991. She was member of the German Bundestag from 1990 to 1998 and delegate for foreign nationals of the federal government. In this function, she amongst others supported the local voting right for foreigners, who are no European citizen but live in Germany for a long time. She also introduced the first bill for an Immigration Act within the FDP-federal party convent. She became member of the Steering Committee of the FDP in 1994 and vice federal chairwoman in 1995. She kept both functions until 1999. Then she was member of the federal board of the FDP until 2001. She was leader of the political club of the Protestant Academy Tutzing/Bavaria. Today, Schmalz-Jacobsen works as an author in Berlin.


Amongst others, she has published the book “Zwei Bäume in Jerusalem”. This book is about the courage of her parents, who have helped to rescue a great number of Jews during the Nazi-time and for this deed have been awarded in the memorial place Yad Vashem. In addition, she is a member of the curatorship of the Friedrich-Naumann-Trust, of the federal government’s independent commission for immigration and in this context chairwoman of the integration working team.

Schmalz-Jacobsen holds several honorary offices in international and humanitarian organisations, such as in the care-centre for victims of torture in Berlin and she is chairwoman of Humanity in Action Germany as well as vice chairwoman of the association Gegen Vergessen – für Demokratie.

ZAK asked Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen to answer the following question:

What can citizens do Against Right-Wing Extremism? 

"Wherever there is active civic involvement against right-wing extremism, rightist extremist activities are declining in the medium to the long term. This experience shows that the first important step is to notice such activities and to identity them as a problem. Attentiveness and vigilance in one’s immediate surroundings pay off. "