Demonstrators Rally Behind Jewish Owner of Berlin Bar Following Suspected Neo-Nazi Arson Attack
Hundreds of demonstrators turned out in Berlin this week in solidarity with the Jewish owner of a bar that was destroyed in arson attack by suspected neo-Nazis.
The attack on the “Morgen Wird Besser” (“Tomorrow Will Be Better”) pub in the Lichtenberg district of the German capital occurred last weekend. Antisemitic symbols were allegedly found on the inside of the burned-out bar and the cash register had been stolen.
Der Bürgermeister von Lichtenberg bewertet großen Zulauf der Kundgebung vor dem „Morgen wird besser“ als klares Zeichen für die #Solidarität im #Kiez und gegen Antisemitismus u beklagt zugleich mangelndes behördl. Engagement bei der Verfolgung rechtsextremer Straftaten #b1808 pic.twitter.com/b34fcjFlPk
— Jüdisches Forum (@JFDA_eV) August 18, 2020
The bar’s owner, an Israeli Jewish man, had reported harassment by neo-Nazi thugs on several previous occasions to the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism (JFDA), a monitoring organization in Berlin.
On five separate occasions, his premises were broken into, while there were “multiple” instances of verbal threats, the JFDA said. One time, a group of neo-Nazis told him in person, “We will get you out of here.”
Depicting his bar as a neighborhood institution, the owner remarked, “We all celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas here.”
German Jewish leaders expressed shock over the attack.
“The burning of Jewish shops in Germany evokes in the hearts of all Jews terrible memories of what took place on German soil some 87 years ago,” Rabbi Akiva Weingarten — who heads the Jewish community of Dresden — said. “We expect that slogans like ‘never again’ will not be meaningless.”
Among the demonstrators who turned out for Tuesday night’s show of solidarity outside the pub were Dirk Behrendt, a Berlin senator, Gesine Lötzsch, a member of the federal parliament and Samuel Salzborn, Berlin’s antisemitism commissioner.