The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, warned a reception held for the American Jewish Committee in Berlin on Wednesday that anti-Semitism is once again a “very big problem” in the country.
More than 70 years after the defeat of the Third Reich and the deaths of six million Jews in a Holocaust carried out by Nazi Germany, Jews in the country once again are living in fear of increasing anti-Semitism, this time perpetrated not only by far-right nationalists, but also by political leftists and Muslim immigrants. Many express their anti-Semitic hate as criticism of the various policies of the State of Israel.
The AJC released a small-scale study that showed an increase in anti-Semitism in Berlin schools following interviews with 27 teachers from 21 schools in the German capital. Staff reported a rise in the number of incidents they saw.
Schuster concurred, telling the Bild am Sonntag newspaper the Central Council of Jews had seen the same trend “for some years, unfortunately.” He told Wednesday’s AJC gathering that data collected in recent surveys shows that “90 percent of Jews perceive anti-Semitism as a very big problem and … 70 percent avoid carrying any Jewish symbols in public.”
His organization has accused the government of failing to “take the necessary actions” to combat rising anti-Semitism, according to DW. The Central Council of Jews in Germany also renewed its call for a commissioner tasked specifically with fighting the problem and serving as a contact for those targeted by anti-Semites, in accordance with the recommendation of the European Parliament to do so.
“In some districts in major cities, I’d advise people not to identify themselves as Jews,” Schuster said in the Bild am Sonntag interview. “Experience has shown that openly wearing a kippa or a necklace with the Star of David is enough to attract verbal or physical threats.”