For the fourth time in just a few years, a Jewish-owned neighborhood bar in Lichtenberg, Berlin – named, ironically, ‘Tomorrow Will Be Better’ — has again been attacked.
Arson attack on the Jewish neighborhood bar "Morgen wird besser" (Tomorrow will be better) in Lichtenberg – pictures of devastation. https://t.co/9WXklMnWV0
— Xy5Z89???? (@Xy5Z89) August 18, 2020
This time, the pub was torched late Friday afternoon, and burned almost completely. Oddly, the apartments in the building above the bar were serenely untouched, and there were no injuries.
According to a report by the World Zionist Organization, police confirmed the fire commissioner in the police criminal division is investigating a “serious arson” and that state security is investigating a “political motive.”
Last Monday, the owner of the bar received a threatening phone call: “I want you to be gone,” WZO reported. Similar calls have made the owner’s life a misery in recent years. In 2019, burglars dumped cola over the counter and tables before escaping with the cash register.
Local residents who requested anonymity – as has the owner of the bar – told Der Tagesspiegel that the bar and its Jewish owner have become targeted by neo-Nazis. The bar was also sprayed with anti-Semitic slogans and motifs.
“The Jewish owner has been threatened for years,” Der Tagesspiegel reported. The owner moved to Lichtenberg in 2012, and initially had a restaurant, which he then converted to a bar two years later.
Five men “with bald heads and combat boots” were said to have come into the restaurant, and then to have continued with the bar, harassing the owner. “You Jews are like cockroaches,” one would say to him. Now and then, there would be a sticker found in the bar, like “Foreigners safe trip home.”
A solidarity rally was organized by the neighborhood to express the support of the residents for the bar’s owner.
“My local pub was torched,” wrote local resident Hanna Reichhardt in a post on Twitter. “A presumably right-wing arson attack. Against our Kiezkneipe, which has a Jewish owner. Expressions of solidarity and rallies organized by the neighbors. I hate and I love this neighborhood.
Meine Stammkneipe wurde abgefackelt. Ein vermutlich rechtsradikaler Brandanschlag. Gegen unsere Kiezkneipe, die einen jüdischen Besitzer hat. Solidaritätsbekundungen und Kundgebung durch die Nachbar*innenschaft organisiert.
Ich hasse und ich liebe diesen Kiez. pic.twitter.com/GZjJhaiqnM
— Hanna Reichhardt (@McRich_n_hard) August 16, 2020