Germany: Anti-Semitic hate crimes hit upward trend in 2020

New report finds authorities logged at least 2,275 crimes with an anti-Semitic background until the end of January 2021.

Elad Benari ,

Berlin
Berlin
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The number of registered anti-Semitic hate crimes in Germany hit a new upward trend in 2020, Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday, citing figures released by the German government and seen by several German media outlets.

The authorities have logged at least 2,275 crimes with an anti-Semitic background until the end of January 2021. Some 55 of those were acts of violence, according to the report.

Only five suspects were detained by the authorities, despite police investigating 1,367 cases. No arrest warrants have been issued.

This is the highest number of anti-Semitic hate crimes since German police started collecting data on "politically motivated criminality" in 2001.

Anti-Semitic crimes have risen steadily in Germany in recent years. According to data released last May, Germany recorded the highest number of anti-Semitic crimes nationwide since 2001 in 2019, with the vast majority of the anti-Jewish crimes reported ascribed to far-right wing perpetrators.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, said in response to the latest numbers that the root of the problem is the spread of conspiracy theories and coronavirus skepticism.

"In view of the numerous anti-Semitic incidents at the coronavirus-denier protests last year and the conspiracy myths online, it was, unfortunately, to be expected that the number of anti-Semitic crimes would rise again," he was quoted as having told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Schuster said that the spike in hate crime showed that "the radicalization of society is progressing and respect for minorities is declining."

He called for the anti-Semitic developments to be stopped "especially in the upcoming elections."

One of the more serious anti-Semitic attacks in recent years was the October 9, 2019 attack on the Halle synagogue during Yom Kippur prayers.

The attack was foiled when the gunman, Stephan Balliet, was unable to breach the synagogue’s door. Unable to carry out the planned massacre in the synagogue, Balliet shot and killed two passersby, including a 40-year-old woman walking down the street and a man working at a nearby kebab shop.

Following the Halle attack, the German government promised at the end of November to introduce a law making it possible to increase penalties when a crime involved an anti-Semitic motive.



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