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November 26, 2019 4:36 pm

‘Stuffy Like Auschwitz’: Jewish Woman Details Antisemitic Barbs Faced by Her Teenage Son at German Public School

avatar by Ben Cohen

An election campaign event by Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Cottbus, Germany, July 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Hannibal Hanschke.

The mother of a 16-year-old Jewish boy in the German city of Offenbach told a local news outlet on Tuesday that a stream of antisemitic remarks from his classmates had compelled her to withdraw him from the public school he currently attends.

Speaking to the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, the mother — who gave her name only as “Alina R.” — said that remarks her son was constantly exposed to included jokes about the school classroom being “warm and stuffy like Auschwitz,” as well as the use of the word “Jew” as an insult.

The mother told the paper that she had lived in Offenbach — a city that lies adjacent to Frankfurt in the western part of Germany — for 23 years, bringing up five children there. She criticized her son’s school for not taking action against the antisemitic barbs, despite the boy’s class teacher admitting that he was aware of the offensive remarks.

Antisemitic outrages have risen precipitously across Germany during the last year, together with a corresponding rise in antisemitic attitudes. Two studies on Tuesday from separate regions of Germany underlined that the problem exists on a national scale.

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First, the daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that antisemitic incidents in the state of Brandenburg during the first nine months of this year equaled the entire record for 2018. There were six incidents recorded of Jewish community centers and memorials being defaced with antisemitic graffiti, with another 94 separate incidents of harassment or abuse directed at individuals perceived as Jewish.

Meanwhile, an academic survey in the east German state of Thuringia revealed that as many as one in six respondents agreed with the statement that Jews “do not belong among us.”

The study, carried out by the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, showed that 16 percent of respondents in Thuringia agreed with the statement that Jews were unwelcome aliens. In the previous year’s survey, just 8 percent of respondents agreed with the same assertion.

The university study also showed that 24 percent of Thuringia residents identified with right-wing extremist parties, such as the “Alternative for Germany” (AfD).

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