Top accolade for woman who broke up antisemitic attack
Janina Levy will be the recipient of the 2018 Berlin “Prize for Civil Courage Against Right-wing Radicalism, Antisemitism and Racism,” the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe organization announced Monday.
Levy, the managing director of a Hamburg creative agency, intervened when a Syrian man in Berlin used a leather belt to attack two young men wearing kippa.
Her intervention drove away the perpetrator and the other people with him, and Levy then took care of the victims and made herself available as a court witness in a case that caused outrage nationwide.
A video of the attack depicted a man hurling verbal abuse and striking one of the victims with his belt. The man also yells the word “Jew” in Arabic. At the time, one of the victims, Adam from Israel, told DW that he and his companion had tried to ignore the attackers.
“One of them got real aggressive and ran to me with his belt,” Adam told DW. “At that moment I realized I have to take a video of it. I wanted to have evidence for police and the German people and the world to see how terrible it is these days as a Jew to go through Berlin streets.”
Adam said that he was an Israeli who grew up in Arab family in Israel and told DW he was actually not Jewish. He said the yarmulke (or skullcap or kippa) he was wearing was a gift from a friend who told him it was “unsafe” to wear outside.
The prize, which is being awarded for the ninth time, will be presented at the end of October at a traditional charity dinner with proceeds to go towards the “Room of Names,” located under the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, which records the fates of Nazi victims.