Lower Saxony antisemitism commissioner calls for more projects in schools

Lower Saxony’s State Commissioner against antisemitism and for the Protection of Jewish Life has called for more projects at schools.

A new empathy competence must be created, said the State Commissioner Franz Rainer Enste in Hanover at the presentation of the annual report of 2021.

An appropriate education must already begin in the kindergarten. He stressed that there were already many good projects at schools on this topic, but these were still too few

At the same time, the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs emphasised that the active fight against antisemitism has a high priority in Lower Saxony’s schools and is intensively pursued in many different ways.

The fact that there is a deficit in this area was reflected back to the ministry for the first time in the annual report.

The state commissioner affirmed that one must take consistent action against every form of antisemitism, also on the internet. What is a criminal offence offline must also be a criminal offence online.

Justice Minister Barbara Havliza  said that antisemitism had unfortunately ceased to be a phenomenon of the extreme political milieu.

“It seems to be less and less of a taboo to also openly act anti-Semitic, to make antisemitic statements.” Combating antisemitism remains a key task, he said.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the public prosecutors’ offices in Lower Saxony initiated 253 preliminary proceedings for antisemitic endeavours last year.

Almost 150 of these cases were investigations for incitement of the people and depiction of violence.

A year earlier, there were a total of 180 preliminary proceedings, and in 2019 there were a total of 225 preliminary proceedings. The minister reckons that the number of unreported cases is high.

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