HATE CRIMES

Germany experienced an average of four anti-Semitic crimes every day in 2017

The volume of anti-Semitic crimes is not decreasing. According to a police report seen by the Tagespiegel newspaper, there were 1,453 crimes against Jewish people in 2017, around the same as in 2016, and up from the 1,366 in 2015. That’s an average of four per day.

Police said that right-wing extremists were behind the majority of anti-Semitic crimes (1,377 out of the 1,453). The report included 898 cases of incitement to hatred, 32 acts of violence, and 160 instances of damage to property. These figures could rise, as all the federal statistics aren’t finalized yet.

Bundestag vice-president Petra Pau of the Left party, who requested the report, said the figures were a concern, telling the Tagespiegel (link in German) that the number of cases could be considerably higher, as many of those affected were afraid to report anti-Semitic crimes.

There had been fears that crimes against Jewish people might increase due to the high number of Muslim refugees that came to Germany since 2015. However, the report found that out of all the anti-Semitic crimes last year, only 25 of them were “religiously motivated,” and carried out mainly by German and foreign muslim extremists.

Concerned at the amount of anti-Semitism in the country, the German government last month voted to create the role of anti-Semitism commissioner. That person’s job will be to work with Jewish groups and try to fight discrimination through education and awareness about anti-Semitism.

While the right-wing Alternative for Germany party voted in favor of the new role, one of its senior members last year bemoaned the Holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin. Björn Höcke said “we Germans… are the only nation in the world that has planted a monument to shame in the heart of its capital.” In response, activists built a miniature version of the Holocaust memorial outside his home.

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