RIAS report finds rise in antisemitic incidents after Halle synagogue attack

A new report from an antisemitism monitor in Germany found that reported antisemitic incidents rose following the attack on a Halle synagogue last Yom Kippur.

“The public perception of the topic of antisemitism was strongly marked by the far-right terrorist attack on a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur,” the Federal Association of Departments for Research and Information on Antisemitism, or RIAS, wrote in releasing the report.

The report highlights 1,253 registered antisemitic incidents in 2019 across four federal states, including Berlin. The inclusion of reporting from Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria was added to the study this year. In the Halle attack, two people were killed near the synagogue when the alleged gunman could not enter the building.

A political background in far-right circles tended to be a theme of those who committed antisemitic attacks, especially in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, where far-right, antisemitic ideology is expressed openly. But the report also claims to show that antisemitism goes beyond political background.

RIAS looked at a variety of overlapping antisemitic motives in its reporting, including Antisemitic Othering, Anti-Judaism, Modern Antisemitism, Israel-Focused Antisemitism and Post-Shoah Antisemitism.

The largest motivation, post-Shoah antisemitism, accounted for 46% of incidents and refers typically to the Holocaust and various denials of Nazi Germany’s crimes.

The study also considers antisemitism in urban versus rural settings.

“In rural areas, for example, antisemitism linked with Israel plays less of a role,” Alexander Rasumny of RIAS said in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “It’s a phenomenon that tends to manifest itself more in urban areas.”

On 7 May, the day before the anniversary of the date in 1945 when Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the country’s EJC affiliate, sounded an alarm about the disappearing memory of the Holocaust, especially among young Germans.

“In their minds, World War II is as far away as the empire, there is no longer a reference point,” Josef Schuster said. “If about half of young people don’t know the term ‘Auschwitz,’ something’s wrong.”

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