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Germany logs uptick in antisemitic crimes amid Gaza conflict

January 25, 2024

Authorities in Germany have noted a sharp increase in crimes with antisemitic motives amid the conflict in Gaza. The government's commissioner tasked with combating antisemitism called the figure "shameful."

A member of the Jewish community walks behind police tape after Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in Berlin in October.
Antisemitic crimes - like this Molotov cocktail attack on a Berlin synagogue in October - are on the rise in GermanyImage: FABRIZIO BENSCH/REUTERS

There have been 2,249 antisemitic crimes committed in Germany since the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, according to the German government's Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt or BKA).

The figure was quoted in Berlin on Thursday by the government commissioner charged with combating antisemitism, Felix Klein. He said that "a significant number" of the crimes were committed not in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 attack, "but weeks and months later," as Israel's military operations in Gaza ramped up.

The figure for the roughly three-and-a-half months since Hamas' attack on Israel is more or less comparable with the number Germany would expect in a more typical full year.

Report: Rise in antisemitic incidents in Germany

Klein said that there had even been incidents of antisemitic assaults at recent nationwide protests against right-wing extremism.

Saying that Jews in Germany had been "attacked, threatened, insulted and frightened" and that antisemitic hate had been "spread publicly," Klein called for tougher sentencing laws on hate crime to combat antisemitism.

He added that he was "appalled" that coverage of the "shamefully high level" of anti-Jewish crime had largely disappeared from German media and the public debate.

Josef Schuster of the Central Council of Jews in Germany
'Jewish life has become less visible' in Germany in recent weeks, warned Josef Schuster of the Central Council of Jews in GermanyImage: John Macdougall via REUTERS

'Jewish life has become less visible'

"Jewish life has become less visible," agreed Josef Schuster, president of Central Council of Jews in Germany, reporting a decrease in visits to synagogues and other events. He said the BKA figures were weighing heavily on the minds of Jews in Germany.

According to both Klein and Schuster, Jews in Germany are more reluctant to speak Hebrew on the streets or use Jewish-sounding names when ordering taxis or other app services, and that some have removed mezuzah scripture capsules from their doors to make their faith less outwardly visible.

The BKA figures come on the day that the Central Council of Jews in Germany launched its "#StopRepeatingStories" campaign, which aims to show that antisemitism is not a problem of the past but of the present by highlighting reports of antisemitic incidents in Germany "which resemble eye-witness accounts from the Third Reich but which actually occurred nowadays."

Klein emphasized the need for solidarity with Jews not only around Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place on Saturday, January 27, but at all times.

mf/msh (KNA, AFP)

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