RIAS figures: Anti-Semitic violence in Berlin is increasing and becoming more extreme

1083 incidents last year
:Jew-hatred increases and becomes more extreme in Berlin

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  • Annika Leister

Visitors to the event "Berlin wears kippa" were also victims of anti-Semitic attacks.

Visitors to the event “Berlin wears kippa” were also victims of anti-Semitic attacks.



The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin is increasing – and the hatred is more violent and direct. This is the conclusion reached by the Research and Information Center Antisemitism Berlin (RIAS), which is funded by the Justice Senate Administration and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.

1083 anti-Semitic incidents documented RIAS 2018 in the capital – this is an increase of 14 percent (previous year: 951). Including: 46 physical attacks, 43 targeted property damage, 46 threats, 117 anti-Semitic communications to multiple persons and 831 cases of infringing behavior such as hostility, propaganda or antisemitic content.

“We have an anti-Semitism problem,” said justice Senator Dirk Behrendt (Greens) on Tuesday after the presentation of the numbers on Twitter. “It has grown and solidified in our society.”

“Threats are increasingly followed by violence, the inhibition threshold is falling”

RIAS is a civil registration office. They are also approached by victims who do not go to the police because they are afraid or do not believe in education. In addition, RIAS collects incidents reported to the police, questions Israeli and Jewish institutions, monitors demonstrations, and evaluates press releases.

Above all, RIAS is concerned about the significant increase in incidents with “special risk potential” for those affected: the number of physical attacks has more than doubled from 18 to 46 compared to 2017 – an increase of 155 percent. And the number of threats has gone from 26 to 46. “We are seeing an increasing willingness to let threats be violent,” says Benjamin Steinitz, project manager at RIAS. “Threatened forms of expression increase, the inhibition thresholds decrease.”

Offended, spit on and kicked

Among the attacks are incidents like this one of April 25, 2018: A group is on the way to the event “Berlin carries Kippa”. They wear Kippot or Star of David pendant on this day, quite deliberately. After an attack on a student they want to show solidarity with the Jews living in Germany. But on the way they are attacked, spit on and kicked by six men and a woman. “Piss off, you Jews,” they shout, and, “We’ll hit you anti-German’s head.”

Threats are sometimes expressed on the street, sometimes by mail: “There is no room for Jews in Berlin”, “cockroaches” or “you Jews are an ulcer, we’ll murder you one day” are sentences that Jews in Berlin had to hear and read ,

Focal points are Mitte and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

According to RIAS, 368 people were affected by the incidents. More than half of them were Jews, but were also hostile to non-Jews who spoke out against anti-Semitism or right-wing extremism.

As in the previous year, most incidents occurred in the districts of Mitte (146) and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (80), followed by Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg (65) and Neuklln (56), most often on the open road or in the bus and train. Alarming, according to Steinitz, was also the number of incidents in the direct living environment of those affected, which has grown from 18 to 39. “In these places, sufferers are often on and can not avoid them – except by moving away.”

“The perpetrators are almost all Germans”

Who are the culprits? According to Steinitz, the idea of “imported anti-Semitism,” that is, of a rapidly growing number of immigrants from Islamic countries as perpetrators, does not confirm the figures.

Sigmount Knigsberg, anti-Semitism representative of the Jewish community, says: “The perpetrators are almost all German citizens. The attempt to turn that over to refugees is an attempt to distract from one’s own anti-Semitism and not to shoulder the responsibility. “

Bianca Klose from the Association for Democratic Culture in Berlin sees a “shift from saying to doing”, a time of social border shifts. “Politicians are well advised not only to take perceptions of those affected and civil society analyzes seriously, but also to act accordingly.”

Teachers, police and prosecutors should be sensitized

In mid-March, the Berlin Senate agreed on a national concept for anti-Semitism prevention in which several administrations are to be involved. Within this framework, for example, teachers, police officers and law enforcement officers should receive special training. In addition, an anti-Semitism commissioner is to be set up, which acts as a contact for justice as Jewish community.

In September 2018, Berlin was the first federal state to have appointed an anti-Semitism commissioner in Claudia Vanoni’s Attorney General.