Kurds in Germany

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Turkish Kurds: German, Kurmanji Kurdish, Zazaki and/or Turkish

Syrian Kurds & some Iraqi Kurds: German, Kurmanji Kurdish and/or Arabic
Most Iraqi Kurds: German, Badhini, Sorani Kurdish and/or Arabic

Most Iranian Kurds: German, Sorani Kurdish and/or Persian
Majority: Alevism or Sunni Islam
Minority: Yazidism, None
Related ethnic groups
Turks, Iraqis, Syrians, Iranian people

Kurds in Germany refers to residents in Germany of full or partial Kurdish origin.

There is a large Kurdish population in Germany, usually estimated at around one million.[1][2][3] The majority of the Kurds have roots in Turkish Kurdistan, but there is also a significant amount of Kurds with roots in Iraqi Kurdistan, Rojava, and Iranian Kurdistan.

Immigration history[edit]

In Germany, Kurdish immigrant workers from Turkey first arrived in the second half of the 1960s.[4] They immigrated to Germany as "Gastarbeiter" (in English guest workers). Since the 1970s and especially since the 1980s, the number of Kurds has increased rapidly. There are many reasons why a lot of Kurds from Turkey (mostly), Iraq, Iran or Syria came to Germany in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s: Better living standard they hope for, jobs, relatives or acquaintances who live in Germany, political unrest, discrimination, persecution, war (in the case of Iraq, Syria and Iran), etc.

Since Syrian War in 2013 there is also a large number of Kurds who immigrated to Germany as Syrian refugees.


While, for example, Kurds in Germany with roots in Iraq or Syria commonly see themselves as of Kurdish and also Syrian/Iraqi/Arab origin, Kurds with roots in Turkey do not usually regard themselves as Turkish or of Turkish descent.[citation needed]

Nevertheless, many of them can understand Turkish and they all have Turkish surnames and a large number have Turkish first names too. In Turkey, Kurdish family names were forbidden and only Kurdish first names have existed. The same also applies to Kurds from Arab countries (Iran) who all have Arabic (Persian) surnames and sometimes Arabic (Persian) forenames.[citation needed]

Zazas from Turkey, who are also called "Zaza Kurds", usually consider themselves only ethnic Kurds. They were seen as Kurds (or Turkish Kurds or Kurds from Turkey) by society as well as all the other Kurdish people.[citation needed]

Mhallami from Lebanon are sometimes called "Lebanese Kurds", but their Kurdish origin is controversial. They are generally not referred to as real Kurds and also mostly see themselves more as of Lebanese and Arab descent than Kurdish. Mhallami in Germany have Arab first names and surnames and normally can speak German and Lebanese Arabic, but not Kurdish.[citation needed]


German Kurds live spread throughout Germany, especially in cities with a large proportion of Turkish people. Examples are Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Essen.

Kurdish immigrants often originates in regions with a Kurdish majority. Examples are Kurdistan Region of Iraq (in German also known as Autonome Region Kurdistan or Nordirak), Rojava in Syria, Iranian Kurdistan and Turkish provinces and cities like Bingöl, Elazığ, Mardin, Tunceli/Dersim, Şanlıurfa/Urfa, Batman, Diyarbakır or cities like Cizre and Pazarcık.

Political activism[edit]

Protest against Turkey's military offensive into north-eastern Syria on 10 October 2019

In October 2014, Kurds in Germany marched in protest over the ISIS offensive on the Syrian town of Ayn al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobani.[5][6]

On 8 August 2015, thousands of Kurds in Germany marched against Turkish Army air strikes on Kurdish civilians.[7]


According to the German authorities, there were 8 Russian, 57 Turkish, 11 Lithuanian and 4 Kurdish gangs in 2013. The Blick and Nzz claimed that the Kurdish gang/motorcycle club "Sondame", allegedly "fighting" for a free Kurdistan, was formed in Stuttgart, and in 2015, it had about 1,000 members in Germany and Switzerland.[8][9] The group is not well known and its existence is controversial. Other Kurdish motorcycle club and gangs include Median Empire[10] and Red Legion.[11][12][9]

Women's rights[edit]

Memorial plaque for Hatun Sürücü in Berlin, Germany. The Kurdish woman from Turkey was murdered at age of 23 by her brothers in an honor killing.

Some cases of honour killing have been reported among the Kurdish diaspora in the West.[13] In Germany in March 2009, a Kurdish immigrant from Turkey, Gülsüm S., was killed for a relationship not in keeping with her family's plan for an arranged marriage.[14] Hatun Sürücü was murdered at the age of 23 in 2005 in Berlin, by her own youngest brother, in an honor killing.[15] In 2016 a Kurdish woman was shot dead at her wedding in Hannover for refusing to marry her cousin in a forced marriage.[16]

Notable People[edit]

See List of German people of Kurdish descent

German Kurds have a strong presence especially in German rap. Since the beginning of the 2000s, lots of German rap artists of Kurdish origin have had big and formative influence on the rap scene (like Azad, Eko Fresh, Xatar, Kurdo, Haftbefehl, KC Rebell, Capo, etc.) and these days, many of the most successful artists are of Kurdish origin too. Other popular German-Kurdish rappers include Eno, Veysel and Azzi Memo.

Kurds also play a role in other sectors, for example in German politics (especially in the German Left party).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Geschenk an Erdogan? Kurdisches Kulturfestival verboten". heise.de. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Islamisten und Kurden: Brutale Gruppen in Deutschland - WELT". DIE WELT. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  3. ^ https://kurdische-gemeinde.de/zahl-der-kurden-in-deutschland-sprunghaft-angestiegen/ This source says that the Kurdish population in Germany increased to 1.15 million in 2015.
  4. ^ "The Kurdish Diaspora". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Kurds protested in Germany over 'IS' attacks on the Syrian town of Kobani". DW.DE. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Thousands march in France, Germany, Austria to support Kobane Kurds". RFI. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Thousands of Kurds in Germany march against Turkish air strikes". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  8. ^ Blick. ""Der Auftritt ist sehr aggressiv": Wie gefährlich sind die Kurden-Rocker Sondame?". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b Baumgartner, Fabian (17 May 2015). "Rivalisierende Banden in Zürich: Machtkampf zwischen kurdischen "Brüdern" und Rockern". Retrieved 19 August 2017 – via NZZ.
  10. ^ MEYER, MEHMET ATA und OLIVER. ""Median Empire": Kurden-Rocker drohen den Hells Angels". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  11. ^ Rocker-Info.net (2 April 2015). "Stuttgarter Kurden drohen weiter den United Tribuns". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  12. ^ Germany, Stuttgarter Zeitung, Stuttgart,. "Red Legion - aktuelle Themen, Nachrichten & Bilder". stuttgarter-zeitung.de. Retrieved 19 August 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  13. ^ Palash R. Ghosh. "Honor Crimes in Britain Far More Prevalent than Formerly Thought". International Business Times. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Erschlagen, weil sie schwanger war? – Killed, because she was pregnant?". Der Bild.
  15. ^ "BBC NEWS - World - Europe - 'Honour killing' shocks Germany". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Kurdish woman shot dead at wedding for refusing to marry her cousin". Retrieved 19 August 2017.