Chronology

1969

  • A total of 2 million foreigners live in West Germany. Italians are the largest group of foreign workers in West Germany.
  • Willy Brandt of the SPD becomes chancellor of West Germany and seeks better ties with East Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union.
  • The West German government signs an accord with South Korea, resulting in the recruitment of 10,000 nurses and 8,000 miners within the next few years.
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film “Katzelmacher” premiers on October 8th. The film which focuses on the plight of a Greek foreign worker in Germany, and explicitly engages problems of xenophobia, won several awards in Germany.

1968

  • West Germany signs a bilateral recruitment agreement with Yugoslavia.
  • German students gather to protest the US-Vietnam war. Rudi Dutschke, a leader of the German student movement is wounded during protests on April 11th. During May, several student protests against Notstandgesetze (State of Emergency Laws), which would allow the restriction of individual rights in case of emergency, are organized.
  • From June to August, German students protest the exclusion of avant-garde art forms such as Fluxus and Happenings from documenta 4. The documenta 4 was notably plagued by the dominance of American artists, a fact which was attacked by protestors as well as German artists such as Wolf Vostell.

1967

  • The Ausserparlamentarische Opposition (Extra-Parliamentary Opposition) in West Germany stages demonstrations against the Vietnam War.
  • On May 27th, in protest against the Vietnam war, the German Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell stages a happening entitled “Miss Vietnam” at several sites in Cologne.
  • On June 2, Benno Ohnesorg, a West German student, is killed by a police officer during a demonstration in West Berlin against the shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who is visiting West Germany.

1966

  • East Germany signs the Pendlervereinbarung (Commuter Accord) with Poland, making it easy for Poles to cross the border for temporary work.
  • On April 18th, the first Jewish school of post-war Germany is established in Frankfurt am Main. The I.E. Lichtigfeld, a private school, is open to students of all religions.

1965

  • West Germany and Israel establish diplomatic relations. West Germany signs a recruitment agreement with Tunisia.
  • Some 2,700 Turks live in West Berlin.
  • In April, the West German Bundestag passes the Foreigner Act, the first piece of legislation since the 1938 Foreigner Police Decree to regulate the residence criteria of noncitizens. Guest workers who have been employed in West Germany for five years may now receive an automatic five-year renewal of their work permit, regardless of whether they are citizens of an EC country. This new regulation applies to 400,000 non-EC workers.