Jewish student from Vienna: It was really scary

Illya Babkin, a Jewish student at the University of Vienna, tells Arutz Sheva about the deadly attack that took place near his home.

Tags: Austria Vienna
Yonatan Gottlieb ,

Illya Babkin
Illya Babkin

Illya Babkin, a Jew who was born in Munich and is currently a student at the University of Vienna, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the terrorist attack that took place on Monday near a synagogue in the city.

"I live very close to the scene of the attack, a ten-minute walk. We started getting messages from friends and neighbors so we went online to catch up on Twitter," said Babkin.

"The news started coming. They wrote that there was a shooting in the city, close to the synagogue. Everyone was already on alert because there was an anti-Semitic incident that morning," he recalled.

"People started sending videos on WhatsApp showing how the police are going around and searching," he added. "In those videos you could actually see, from the windows and the balconies, how the cops are looking for the shooter. It was reported on all the channels. It was really scary."

Then, "The police asked not to post any video or photos on social media because it could endanger the lives of the policemen and the terrorist could follow the policemen that way. At the moment, based on the information we know, some of the terrorists were shot and the police are still looking for the others," he said.

"It looks like an anti-Semitic attack because it started near the main synagogue, but the synagogue is now closed and no one was there. The shooter continued to the city where he fired indiscriminately," continued Babkin.

As a Jewish student in Vienna, Babkin has experienced a number of anti-Semitic incidents in Austria in the past year. "For example," he said, "we were a group of Jewish students in the middle of the city and people stopped a car, opened a window, pointed a middle finger at us and cursed."

In another instance, he recalled, "We passed near a demonstration related to the coronavirus and there were also groups of neo-Nazis and neo-fascists and people there who cheered 'Heil Hitler' and carried various problematic symbols."

In conclusion, said Babkin, "It happens in Vienna and it happens all the time. But on the other hand, Vienna is still a quiet and safe place. A terrorist attack like this is not something that usually happens here, thank God."