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March 5, 2020 10:24 am

Stop ‘Appeasement’ of Antisemites Says Jewish Leader, Amid Ongoing Rise of Hate Crimes in Germany

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avatar by Ben Cohen

A neo-Nazi rally in Dresden, Germany. Photo: Reuters / Matthias Rietsche.

Antisemitic offenses in Germany reached a record peak in 2019, according to police figures released this week, leading the head of the country’s Jewish community to declare that “the time for appeasement is finally over.”

A total of 1,839 hate crimes targeting Jews were registered in 2019, compared with 1,799 the previous year.

The German news outlet Tagespiegel emphasized that the “figures on antisemitic crime are likely to rise, as the current statistics are based on preliminary findings by the police in the Länder (the individual states that make up Germany’s federal republic).”

The figure for antisemitic crimes was the highest recorded since 2001, when the German authorities changed their reporting requirements for politically-motivated crimes.

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The offenses in 2019 broke down into an average of five attacks on Jews every day, with the majority of crimes attributed to neo-Nazis and other far-right groups.

Violent crimes against Jews also peaked, with 72 outrages reported in 2019, compared with 69 the previous year.

The two fatalities recorded were the consequence of the attempted shooting massacre in a synagogue in the city of Halle by a far-right extremist on Yom Kippur last year. After the gunman failed to break through the heavy wooden doors of the synagogue, he turned his fire on two passersby — a woman who was walking in the street and a man who was sitting in a Turkish-owned snack bar.

Josef Schuster — head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany — told German media outlets that the figures from 2019 were confirmation of the community’s fear of rising antisemitism.

“The breaking of taboos  that we experience everywhere and which is largely fueled by the AfD [the main far-right party in Germany are ultimately reflected in deeds,” Schuster said. “We must also assume that the number of unreported cases is high. Many of those affected do not even file a complaint, because investigations are often discontinued and only a few perpetrators are actually prosecuted.”

Schuster concluded that “the time for appeasement is finally over.”

Felix Klein — the German government’s commissioner charged with combating antisemitism — said that the increase was “terrible, but not really surprising to me.”

Klein added that his greatest concern was the “marked increase in aggressiveness, which is reflected in the peak level of antisemitic violent crime.”

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