German Jews Condemn Far‐Right Coronavirus Protest Outside Reichstag in Berlin
Germany’s Jewish community reacted with dismay over the weekend as hundreds of far-right demonstrators attempted to storm the historic building in Berlin that houses the country’s federal parliament.
As nearly 40,000 activists descended on the German capital on Saturday for a protest that decried coronavirus restrictions as a globalist plot, violence broke out at several junctures during the demonstration, with police making over 300 arrests.
Some demonstrators wore yellow Star of David symbols marked with the word “Corona” — a deliberate appropriation of the Nazi persecution of the Jews that has been widely denounced as antisemitic.
Toward the end of the day, hundreds of right-wing extremists charged onto the steps of the Reichstag, where the German parliament, the Bundestag, hold its sessions. Many brandished the discarded red, white and black flag of Imperial Germany — a symbol favored by the far right because of post-war Germany’s ban on the swastika and other Nazi symbols.
“We are dismayed and deeply concerned about yesterday’s images in front of the Reichstag building,” the Central Council of Jews in Germany declared on Twitter, in a post that included the hashtag “#Nazisraus” — “Nazis Out.”
— Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (@ZentralratJuden) August 30, 2020
Speaking to the German Jewish news outlet Juedische Allgemeine, Josef Schuster — president of the Central Council — said it was “unbearable” to see “people with the symbols of right-wing extremists on the steps of the Reichstag building.”
Schuster added: “Unfortunately, the right-wing extremists succeeded in achieving what they wanted to achieve, namely to produce provocative images that are now being widely distributed.”
Felix Klein — the German federal government’s antisemitism commissioner — asserted that the far-right extremists had crossed a “red line” in their display at the Reichstag building.
The imperial flags evoked “the worst memories,” Klein said.
“This is an attack on the heart of democracy,” he added.