Überfremdung (pronounced [ˌyːbɐfʁɛmdʊŋ] ), literally „over-foreignization“, is a German-language term used in politics to suggest an excess of immigration . The word is compounded from über meaning „over“ or „overly“ and fremdmeaning „foreign“.

Political uses

The German term has had several meanings over the years, all of which have reflected the sense of „too foreign“ and „threatening“, and the negative.

Successive editions of the Duden dictionary Illustrate how the meaning Has Changed since the term Was first used in 1929, meaning Then „taking it too much foreign money“ (especially loans made from 1924 to 1929 to rebuild Germany, Following The First World War ). In 1934 (one year after the NSDAP came to power in Germany), the meaning changed to „immigration / taxation of foreign races „, and in 1941 it became „immigration / taxation of foreign peoples“. Following the Second World War, the 1951/1952 version of the Duden returned to the strictly economic definition. In 1961, the term „foreigner“ came to replace „foreign races“ or „foreign peoples“. In 1986, the term was no longer used in economics. Since 1991, primarily the verb „überfremden“ has been in use, and one can speak of a country being überfremdet („over-foreignized“).

In 1993, the Society for the German Language ( Gesellschaft für die deutsche Sprache eV ) declared „Überfremdung“ to be the German Un-Word of the Year , as it makes „undifferentiated xenophobia“ sound more argumentative and clinical. [1]

Linguists, philologists, political scientists and social scientists criticize the concept for its vagueness, its use under national socialism, and its continuing negative connotation.

The word is related to terms in various languages: “ foreign infiltration „, “ foreign penetration ,“ French foreign overpopulation , loss of cultural identity , invasion by foreigners , extranjerización , and infiltrazione straniera , Israeli law and term of „infiltrators „, qui-have all beens used to various times to rally xenophobic feeling.

See also

  • Xenophobia
  • nativism
  • LTI – Lingua Tertii Imperii
  • James Schwarzenbach
  • Illegal immigration from Africa to Israel


  1. Jump up^ Spiegel Online : Ein Jahr, ein (Un-) Wort! (in German).