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February 20, 2020 4:28 pm

Hanau Bar Shootings Underscore Jewish Concerns Over Rise in Far-Right Violence in Germany

avatar by Algemeiner Staff and Agencies

Forensic experts work around a damaged car after the bar shootings in Hanau, Germany, near Frankfurt, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach.

Top Jewish groups condemned on Thursday the deadly mass shootings at two shisha bars in the German city of Hanau in which nine people were murdered by a far-right assailant.

The suspected attacker — 43-year-old German man identified as Tobias R. — was later found dead at his home, alongside his 72-year-old mother.

According to prosecutors, the gunman had posted a manifesto online including conspiracy theories and deeply-racist views.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “poison” of racism. Her deputy, Olaf Scholz, took to Twitter to say: “Politically, nobody can deny that 75 years after the Nazi dictatorship there is real terror again.”

In a statement on Thursday, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said his organization was “extremely concerned about the rising threats against minorities in Germany from both sides of the political landscape in Germany.”

“Today’s events in Hanau, are just two more examples of the far-right violence that targets Jewish citizens, immigrants and all people, who might not fit a long standing and bizarre racial view of some German citizens,” he noted. “Germany, of all countries in Europe, must be sensitive to this deadly and growing issue. This tragedy underscores the need for far more effective measures by the police and authorities to protect the lives of Germany’s minorities.”

“But it isn’t just minorities that are threatened,” Lauder continued. “These crimes pose the greatest threat to the democratic fabric of German society and Germany’s commitment to uphold the values at the core of its postwar identity.”

“Sadly, the connection between the recent tragedy in Halle to the latest shooting spree in Hanau is evident,” he pointed out, referring to an incident last October in which an antisemitic gunman opened fire outside a synagogue on Yom Kippur and in a nearby kebab restaurant in the city of Halle, killing two people. “Unless German authorities stop this now with real and tough laws along with real law enforcement, the genie of xenophobic bigotry that had been held down for 75 years, will be let loose again and that is something that the world cannot afford.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “We are heartbroken by the horrifying shooting in Germany last night. We mourn the innocent people who were senselessly murdered in this attack.”

American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris tweeted, “Racist violence is pure, unadulterated evil. It’s on the rise again. Charleston … Pittsburgh … Poway … Christchurch … Colombo … Halle … Now in Hanau, Germany. We stand with Germany — and people of good will everywhere — in our determination to combat it w/ all our strength.”

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