About one-third of all anti-Semitic crimes committed in Germany last year occurred in Berlin, according to a Taz report from Feb. 15. About 500 anti-Semitic crimes were recorded in 2017 by Benjamin Steinitz, head of the anti-Semitism research and information center in Prenzlauer Berg.
The figures reportedly include 10 attacks, 13 threats, 19 cases of property damage and more than 450 cases of threatening behavior. Victims report the crimes to Steinitz voluntarily. They compare to the 1,453 anti-Semitic crimes reported to police last year nationwide, including 32 violent crimes.
Police statistics indicate that 95 percent of the anti-Semitic crimes were committed by right-extremists but Steinitz says the acts are more mainstream than the statistics show – whenever an anti-Semitic crime is reported, police automatically label it as a right-wing crime unless the perpetrator is identified. “As soon as personal information about the perpetrator becomes known, the ratio changes immediately,” he told the paper. “Usually the relationship between right-wing and non-right-wing motivation is balanced.”
Anti-Semitism in Berlin
The Taz article uses a number of actual examples of anti-Semitic attacks in Berlin to illustrate their prevelance in the Hauptstadt. Most notably was the high-profile verbal assault unleashed on Israeli restaurateur Yorai Feinberg in December by a middle-aged Berliner in Schöneberg. The assault was filmed by a friend of Feinberg and the attacker was ultimately arrested.
“There’s anti-Semitism from the right, from the left and from Muslims,” Feinberg is quoted in the paper. His family is reportedly Polish and his father survived the Holocaust, in part by hiding under a barn. He’s been widely quoted as considering leaving Berlin and said there was an outpouring of support following the video, though he still fields anti-Semitic phone calls on a regular basis.
The article also highlighted other high-profile cases including two children who were attacked with fireworks after speaking Hebrew on a playground. And Gemma Mikalski, whose son was assaulted in his Friedenau school for being Jewish, told Taz she has yet to receive an apology from the school for its inaction – she put him in a different school.