German police
German police iStock

Germany has recorded the highest number of anti-Semitic crimes nationwide since 2001 with Jewish leaders saying a new wave linked to coronavirus conspiracy theories is expected, JTA reported Thursday.

Police registered 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes, including two killings, in 2019, according to newly released figures published in the German news media.

The total is up 13% from 2018.

The vast majority of the anti-Jewish crimes reported, 93.4%, were ascribed to far-right wing perpetrators, though there also was an increase in such crimes from the far left.

The crimes range from propaganda incidents such as denying the Holocaust and displaying banned Nazi symbols, to vandalism to murder.

The most notable violent attack was the Yom Kippur attack on the synagogue in Halle on October 9. The perpetrator shot and killed two passersby after being unable to shoot his way into the synagogue.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Holger Munch, head of the Federal Criminal Police Office, presented the statistics on Wednesday in the annual report on politically motivated crimes, a category launched in 2001.

In all, there were slightly more than 41,000 crimes reported, an increase of 14.2% over the 36,000 in 2018.

Given the likelihood that many anti-Semitic crimes go unreported, “the picture is gloomy,” Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said Wednesday.

He added that anti-Semitism on the internet, on the streets and in schools “has become commonplace for Jews in Germany.”

“Unfortunately, the corona crisis has had a reinforcing effect on this,” Schuster added. “Supporters of conspiracy myths and opponents of measures against the pandemic do not even shy away from relativizing the Holocaust.”

A report released in 2018 found that Germany had seen an increased number of attacks on Jews during the first half of that year.

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.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shavuot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)