Austria suffered a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2020 despite multiple COVID-19 lockdowns.
The 585 incidents represented a 6% increase over 2019, the Jewish Community in Vienna, a nonprofit representing the interests of Austrian Jews, said in its annual report published Monday. Physical assaults nearly doubled to 11 from six.
The organization started monitoring anti-Semitic hate crimes 19 years ago, according to the report.
Anti-Semitic vandalism decreased to 53 cases last year from 78 in 2019, but threats rose to 22 cases from 18. Insults on the street saw a dramatic increase to 364 incidents from 239.
“Wild anti-Semitic lies were spread especially on the Internet and at many demonstrations,” Oskar Deutsch, the president of the Jewish Community in Vienna, wrote in a statement about the report. “Such words can lead to a conflagration of deeds, if we do not confront them.”
In 40% of cases documented last year, the motivation of the perpetrators was not known. From the 60% where the motivation was known, 54% were attributed to “far-right” perpetrators, 24% came from the “left” and 20% were by “Islamists,” the report said.
In one incident from March 2020, a synagogue-goer wearing a kippah was assaulted outside his car in Vienna by a man who broke his glasses, hit him and called him a “Jewish pig,” the report said.
AustIn another later that month, two teenagers in Graz hit a 16-year-old boy for wearing a Star of David pendant, calling him “shitty Jew.”