Germany / 28-11-2016

Hate crimes against German Jews double

Source: The Times

Antisemitism has increased dramatically in Germany, along with the general rise in far-right crime seen during the migration crisis.


Criminal investigations into attacks on Jews, Jewish property and hate speech totalled 2,083 cases in 2015, a rise of 201 per cent on the previous year.


The figures came from the first national analysis of xenophobic and far-right crime collected on uniform criteria across Germany’s 16 states by the Ministry of Justice and obtained by the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.


Crimes such as the smashing of headstones at Jewish cemeteries or starting a fire at a synagogue were reclassified as antisemitic after a previous analysis designated such incidents as criminal damage or attempted arson, without attributing an anti-Jewish motive. This saw a rise from the previous recorded figure of 1,366 antisemitic crimes for 2015, which was released in May.


The same analysis applied across Germany found there were 691 antisemitic criminal investigations opened by prosecutors in 2014.


Süddeutsche Zeitung said the rise in criminal investigations probably represented both a real increase in crime and a rising sensitivity to all kinds of racist, xenophobic and far-right crime among prosecutors and the police.

The analysis by the Ministry of Justice found there were 24,600 criminal cases in 2015 attributed to far-right or xenophobic motives. The start of the year marked the high point of activity by Pegida, or “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West”, a grassroots organisation which started in the eastern city of Dresden with weekly marches.


During the summer unprecedented numbers of migrants arrived in Germany, which also fuelled far-right activity with 1,005 attacks on refugee shelters, including 92 arson cases.


The majority of far-right and xenophobic investigations involved the distribution of propaganda or the use of unconstitutional symbols such as swastika graffiti with 13,576 cases, up 19.8 per cent on 11,334 in 2014. Incitement of hatred cases reached 5,730, up 130 per cent.