Germans have this habit....which I think to some degree....goes back to the 1600s. The German newspaper "Die Welt" kinda rediscovered that with the publishing of an article today.
"Welt" found that almost fifty percent of people (45 percent to be exact) would prefer not to speak their minds in public
"Welt" went to the Allensbach Institute and had them do the poll and survey.
The question was put to those who participated in the survey....do Germans speak their mind?
The general response by this quiet group? People are somewhat fearful and note that you have to be careful what you say and how you say it. Best to say nothing.
So, this leads one to this awkward note. When the state-run news media tells you that only fifteen-to-twenty percent of the public is anti-refugee....it's not a reliable number. In some ways, it also suggests that there could easily be fifty-percent-plus of the German public who is anti-immigrant. For a opposition political party to realize this....milk it for value.....and come back with election results.....it's a major threat.
Where did German society develop this tendency to stay quiet? My own historical feeling is that it came out of the era of the 1619 period when the Thirty-Years War occurred. You had to stand there and watch a religious war develop, and later a local community war....and it was best to just be quiet as possible. The same thing likely came up in WW I, and later in the 1930s.