By Ute Kaiser
“Remigration” means return migration. In migration research, it is mainly used to describe voluntary return. However, it is now used by right-wing parties (such as the AfD) and right-wing and far-right movements (such as the Identitarian Movement) to disguise their real intentions: the forced expulsion or even mass deportation of people “with supposedly the wrong skin colour or origin, even if they are German citizens”. This is how a jury member of the “Unword of the Year” campaign described why they chose the right-wing campaign term “remigration” as the Unword of 2023.
In German, terms or phrases that are discriminatory, misleading or violate human dignity are labelled as unwords. The jury criticised the fact that the term “remigration” is “deliberately ideologically appropriated and reinterpreted” in such a way that “inhumane deportation and removal practices are concealed”.
“Remigration” plans are, among other things, a violation of citizenship rights and the principle of equality in the German constitution. The term and the intentions associated with it in right-wing and far-right circles are causing fears among people with a history of migration and fuelling heated discussions and protests. In many German cities, including Tübingen, people are demonstrating against right-wing extremism and fascist ideas such as forced “remigration”. The idea has a history. In 1940, the Nazis originally planned to deport millions of Jews to Madagascar. But then they murdered millions of Jews in the Holocaust.
The topic of “remigration” also played a major role at a secret meeting between members of the AfD and other right-wing extremists and racists on 25 November near Potsdam. This was revealed by the medium “Correctiv” (see link). The journalists want to strengthen democracy with their research.
Coincidence or not: the hotel where the right-wingers discussed their ideas for “remigration” is only eight kilometres away from the House of the Wannsee Conference. This is where the Nazis coordinated the systematic extermination of the Jews.
Info: The independent jury for the “Unword of the Year” campaign in Marburg consists of linguists, a journalist and an annually changing member, this time a former CDU member of the Bundestag. The jury received 2301 suggestions for the Unword of the Year 2023. The campaign has been in existence since 1991 and aims to raise awareness so that discriminatory, misleading words and phrases that violate human dignity are recognised.
Das Unwort 2023 ist “Remigration”. Foto: tuenews INTERNATIONAL / Linda Kreuzer.