The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Germany sees ‘extremely alarming’ rise in racist and antisemitic hate crime

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Xenophobic and antisemitic hate crime rose by nearly 20 percent in Germany last year, according to the latest Interior Ministry data published Tuesday.

In its report, the ministry listed 7,701 xenophobic criminal acts, a jump of 19.7 percent compared to 2017.

Antisemitic offences totalled 1,799 after a similar increase. Almost 90 percent of perpetrators had a right-wing extremist background, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a press conference.

Despite a post-war culture of repentance for the Nazi era and Holocaust, Germany has not bucked a European tend of increasing hate speech and attacks against Jews.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his concern at the Berlin launch of a European network called Combating Antisemitism Through Education.

All over Europe, hatred of Jews and violence against minorities are now rampant, Maas said.

Historical awareness is the best shield against intolerance, racism and antisemitism, he said, urging efforts to close “gaps in knowledge”.

The challenges had increased with the arrival of migrants who grew up with antisemitic stereotypes, he said, stressing however that antisemitism is “not an imported product”.

Maas urged tolerance toward all minorities, saying that “in a free and tolerant Europe, we must protect a woman with a headscarf from insults and assaults just as we must protect a man with a kippa”.

Felix Klein, Germany’s commissioner for Antisemitism said he was “extremely alarmed” by the sharp rise.

“Against the background of falling inhibitions and brutalisation of the social climate in Germany, I had expected an increase in antisemitic crimes in 2018,” Klein told German daily Welt.

“However, I consider the fact that the increase was so high to be extremely alarming.”

Klein said Germany must now “mobilise all our forces in politics and civil society” to counter “this trend”.