Anetta Kahane is a German left-wing journalist, author and activist against antisemitism, racism and right-wing extremism. Her parents were secular Jews who fled from Nazi Germany in 1933. Like other Holocaust survivors her parents did not speak about their experience of persecution, but their psychological traumas influenced Kahane. In school Kahane was open about her Judaism, against her parents’ will.
From 1988 Kahane was active in the civil rights movement of the German Democratic Republic opposition, and supported foreigners and minorities. In 1990 she was appointed to be the first and last official for foreigners of the East Berlin Senate. After witnessing street violence and attacks on Sinti, Romani people, Africans and Vietnamese, she engaged constantly against daily racism. She pressured the city leadership to transform former military barracks into housing for eastern European migrants and refugees.
Since 1989 Kahane has initiated many associations for issues of foreigners, and became a respected expert on this topic. Responding to increased racist violence in the former East Germany, in 1998 Kahane initiated the Amadeu Antonio Foundation as an organised effort to combat xenophobia, antisemitism and right-wing extremism. In 2002 she was awarded the Moses Mendelssohn prize of the state of Berlin for her work. In July 2015, she openly supported the suggestion of the Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann to send more refugees to the new states of Germany because, according to her, the number of people of color is too low there. In December 2015, she followed an invitation of the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection to take part in a task force against hate speech on social media.