2019 counted over 1,200 antisemitic incidents in four federal states in Germany

The Federal Association of Antisemitism Research and Information Centers (RIAS) documented a total of 1,253 antisemitic incidents in its first annual report for 2019. These included data from the federal states of Berlin (881), Brandenburg (138), Bavaria (178) and Schleswig-Holstein (56), announced Benjamin Steinitz, Executive Director of the RIAS Federation. RIAS has been active and well-known in Berlin for a long time, so there is much more news from those affected than in other countries.

Data from the remaining twelve federal states are less significant because in 2019 there were no independent reporting points. As for the rest of the federal territory, the federal association received only 200 reports last year. “Clearly, we have to anticipate a very large dark field of unreported incidents,” Steinitz said.
Antisemitic symbols in corona demonstrations

According to the intelligence agency, antisemitic conspiracy theories and stereotypes are receiving an increasing impetus from the Corona crisis. Meanwhile, prejudice and hostility are not only spreading on the Internet, but also being publicized, for example during demonstrations against Corona’s measures.

At the so-called Hygienic Demonstrations in Berlin or similar protests in other federal states, protective masks with yellow stars appeared several times, in the middle of which was a “vaccine adversary” or “unvaccinated”. In Bavaria, for example, protesters would show signs that “Exit restrictions are a social holocaust.”

The current development is “very scary,” said Joshua Vogel, head of the state information and documentation center for antisemitism in Schleswig-Holstein. It not only affects supporters of the far-right spectrum, but also reaches the center of society.

The public perception of antisemitism in 2019 was strongly shaped by the extreme right-wing terrorist attack on the synagogue in Halle on the highest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, Steinitz said. However, there were also cases of extreme violence in other regions, such as against Jews in Bavaria. In Berlin, a man also tried to enter a synagogue with a knife. The incidents showed that antisemitic perpetrators posed a potentially fatal threat, the federal association RIAS stressed.

According to the report, antisemitism often refers to the Shoah. In addition, Jews are often referred to as inappropriate. In almost all federal states, the political background was not clearly definable in almost half of the cases. This is a sign that antisemitism is also widespread in an unclear political environment and that individual stereotypes from different political spectra are used, the association said.

Additional registration offices are still under construction

Since February 2019, the federal association RIAS has initiated and supported the establishment of regional networks for reporting and support in various federal states. The role is RIAS Berlin, which has existed since 2015.

Federal Government Commissioner for Antisemitism Felix Klein said the work of RIAS made a decisive contribution to raising the profile of antisemitism in society. Therefore, it would be greatly appreciated if the relevant structures were set up as soon as possible in all federal states. RIAS CEO Steinitz hopes that more than half of the countries will be there by the end of the year.

Source: RIAS