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Thilo Sarrazin
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Thilo Sarrazin (2009)
Berlin Senator of Finance
In office
17 January 2002 – 30 April 2009
Preceded by Christiane Krajewski [de]
Succeeded by Ulrich Nußbaum [de]
Personal details
Born 12 February 1945 (1945-02-12) (age 75)
Gera, Germany
Nationality Germany
Political party SPD
Spouse(s) Ursula (née Breit)
Alma mater University of Bonn
Profession Economist, Politician, Writer

Thilo Sarrazin (born 12 February 1945) is a German economist and former politician of the SPD. In 2000 and 2001, Sarrazin worked for the Deutsche Bahn. In 2002, he became the senator for finance in the German state of Berlin. In May 2009, he has become a member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Sarrazin published the book Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany Abolishes Itself") with controversial comments about the German immigration system. The book was published on 30 August 2010. His book led the executive board members of the Bundesbank to ask to dismiss Thilo Sarrazin from his office. This must be done by the German Bundespräsident Christian Wulff. After an agreement with the German Bundesbank, Thilo Sarrazin will leave his post at the end of September.

Sarrazin is also known for statements such as the following:

"Integration needs performance from those that are to be integrated. I will not show respect for anyone that is not performing in that way. I do not have to acknowledge anyone who lives by welfare, denies the very state that provides that welfare, refuses to care for the education of his children and constantly produces new little headscarf-girls."


Sarrazin was born in Gera, Germany. His father was a doctor and the mother a daughter of a West Prussian landowner. His paternal family, a French Huguenot family, is originally from Burgundy. His grandmother was English-Italian. He has explained that his name means Saracen (i.e. Muslim) and is common in Southern France. It comes from the Arab pirates that were called “Saracens” in the Middle Ages. His mother has a Polish origin. He has referred to himself as "a European mongrel".

He grew up in Recklinghausen. At age seven, he went to an orphanage in Bavaria. He graduated from the local gymnasium and then served in the military from 1967 to 1971. Then, he studied Economics at the University of Bonn, earning his doctorate. From November 1973 to December 1974 he worked for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and became active in the SPD.

In 1975 Sarrazin started to work in the Federal Ministry of Finance. Until 1981 he served as Head of Unit in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In 1981, he returned to the Federal Ministry of Finance. In October 1981, he started to work as bureau chief and was a close collaborator of Federal Finance Minister Hans Matthöfer and his successor Manfred Lahnstein. Even after the end of the socialist-liberal coalition in October 1982, Sarrazin remained in the Finance Ministry. There he was director of several units, including (from 1989 to 1990) the "Innerdeutsche Beziehungen", which the German monetary, economic and social union prepared. During his time as Head of the Federal Ministry of Finance, he was partly responsible for German railways.

From 1990 to 1991, Sarrazin worked for the Treuhand. Then he was up to 1997 State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Sarrazin is married to Ursula Sarrazin (née Breit) and has two sons.

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