Demonstrators in Berlin brandish Turkish and Palestinian flags as they burn an Israeli flag. Photo: Jüdisches Forum für Demokratie und gegen Antisemitismus.
In yet another dramatic sign of rising antisemitism on the European continent, Germany’s government disclosed on Wednesday that violent attacks against Jews in the country surged by 60 percent during 2018.
The numbers were published in answer to a request for information from German parliamentarian Petra Pau, a prominent leader of the left-wing socialist party Die Linke (“The Left”). Figures gathered by the German authorities showed an overall rise of 10 percent in antisemitic incidents compared to 2017, with 1,646 offenses reported last year.
Of those, 62 were classified as “violent crimes,” compared with 37 crimes in the same category in 2017.
A total of 43 people were injured in 2018’s violent incidents, while police said they had identified 857 suspects and made 19 arrests.
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Germany’s government again reiterated its firm opposition to antisemitism in its response to the numbers. Ulrike Demmer — a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel — emphasized that “there is no place for antisemitism in Germany.”
Jewish life in Germany must be allowed to “develop freely and safely,” Demmer stated.
Josef Schuster — president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany — remarked in an interview with the BBC that what “had already solidified as a subjective impression among Jews is now confirmed in the statistics.”
“The latest numbers are not yet official, but at least they reflect a tendency — and that’s scary,” Schuster said.
“Considering that acts below the threshold for criminal liability are not covered, the picture becomes even darker,” he added.
Last April, the German government appointed career diplomat Felix Klein as the country’s first federal commissioner charged with combating antisemitism. In successive interviews, Klein identified both the far right and elements within Germany’s various Muslim communities as responsible for the increase in offenses against Jews.
Additional government statistics made public on Wednesday showed that more than 19,000 hate crimes were carried out by German far-right extremists in 2018, of which nearly 1,100 involved violence.
News of last year’s precipitate increase in Germany came one day after the French government announced a shocking rise of 74 percent in antisemitic crimes committed last year.
Last week, the Community Security Trust — the UK Jewish community’s security body — published its highest ever annual toll of antisemitic incidents, with 1,652 offenses targeting British Jews in 2018, more than 100 of which involved violence.
About 100,000 Jews live in Germany, a community swelled in recent years by the arrival of thousands of young Israelis.