Police in Vienna have come under criticism for their lack of response to a recent incident where a 19-year old female student was subjected to anti-Semitic harassment and assault, and two street level police officers failed to respond.
According to Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper, the student, who is from the Carinthia region, is a Jewish Studies major at a Viennese university. Last week she was travelling on the U-Bahn subway reading the book “The Jews in the Modern World,” whose title was clearly visible.
Three men in the same car saw that she was reading a Jewish book. They approached her and began to yell insults at her, including “child murderer.” They also pulled her hair.
The student got off the train at the next station and approached two police officers. She told them about the attack. Instead of coming to her aid, the officers chastising her for reading the book during a “time of such conflict.”
They also asked her if the was Jewish. When she replied that she wasn’t, the officers falsely told her she wasn’t entitled to file an anti-Semitism complaint.
Her attempt to file a case at a police station also resulted in a similar lack of response, with police telling she that she would be advised to forget the incident.
After media reports of the incident began to circulate, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior reportedly instructed local police to investigate.