Germany’s Orthodox Rabbinical Conference on Saturday condemned the desecration of a Torah ark at the Jewish prayer room in the transit area of Frankfurt’s international airport.
DPA quoted Frankfurt police which reported the swastika had been painted on the ark and was discovered several days ago – but it isn’t clear how long it had been since the desecration, because the prayer room had been closed for months on account of coronavirus pandemic.
Germany’s Orthodox Rabbinical Conference issued a statement saying, “It is simply sad. This hatred of Jews must finally stop. The ugly grimace of anti-Semitism does not stop even in a highly secured area, at a place of encounter, silence and stopping, where people from all over the world meet briefly while traveling and are in transit.”
German police registered 2,428 anti-Semitic crimes in 2020.
While most countries don’t penalize the display of Nazi symbols, in Germany, the law considers swastikas and SS insignia “symbols of anti-constitutional organizations.” Displaying them publicly or selling goods that are marked with them is illegal. The Nazi salute and statements such as “Heil Hitler” are also banned in public.
However, according to Germany’s Criminal Code, swastikas and other Nazi-era symbols may be displayed if they are used for “civic education, countering anti-constitutional activities, art, and science, research and education, the coverage of historic and current events, or similar purposes.”
Posting a picture with a swastika in it or Nazi slogans on social media is illegal in Germany. According to Deutsche Welle, in March 2018, a 45-year-old man was sentenced to three months in prison after he repeatedly posted pictures of a masked man with tattoos of a swastika and other Nazi symbols on Facebook.