Instead of congratulations and gifts there were bruises to the face and arms: A Neukölln school pupil was so badly beaten by his schoolmates on his birthday that he required outpatient treatment in a hospital. The case, which emerged around two weeks ago, throws a spotlight on the phenomenon of "birthday beatings, which, although it has spread across the whole country, rarely reaches public notice.
...The director of the Criminological Institute of Lower Saxony, Christian Pfeiffer, has many years of experience with "birthday beatings. When he was still Justice Minister in Hannover in 2002, young assailants at a school in Stadthagen had systematically and repeatedly tyrannised their schoolmate on his birthday. Pfeiffers institute has now examined the ritual and determined that it is motivated by envy. "From envy and irritation develop a wish to put the other down, explains the criminologist. Mostly it goes no further than mobbing, more rarely a beating. Occasionally, birthday beatings were considered "part of the school culture, as was the case that time in Stadthagen.
According to Pfeiffer, part of the explanation may be that in Muslim families, it is not the tradition for birthdays to be celebrated so lavishly and with many gifts as is typically the case in Germany. When individual school pupils then get new smartphones or computers on their birthday, the Muslim children, who didnt receive anything, may feel provoked. A pupils representative from a Berlin school confirmed this explanation from his own experience, but did not want to be named in connection with the matter.(...more)