Attacks spark alarm over anti-Semitism in Germany

BERLIN - Jewish community leaders in Berlin expressed alarm yesterday over anti-Semitism in the German capital after two attacks on the public transport system.

BERLIN - Jewish community leaders in Berlin expressed alarm yesterday over anti-Semitism in the German capital after two attacks on the public transport system.

"The atmosphere has deteriorated in Berlin," said Levi Salomon, charged with fighting anti-Semitism for the Jewish Community Association in Berlin.

Late on Saturday two 23-year-old women and a 25-year-old man were accosted and insulted with anti-Semitic slurs in a subway train by an unidentified man, who was later joined by other aggressors, police said in a statement.

When the three tried to leave the metro the Jewish man was struck over the head with a bottle and insulted again. The women were assaulted with blows to the head and shins. The assailants were able to flee.

On Friday a 61-year-old man shouted anti-Semitic insults at two 10-year-old girls outside a commuter train station.

When a 28-year-old bystander attempted to intervene, the man grabbed a beer bottle and pursued the girls, who were nevertheless able to flee.

The older man, who had been drinking, then threatened the would-be helper with the bottle.

Police officers called to the scene had to use pepper spray to subdue him. He was arrested on charges of incitement of racial hatred and attempted grievous bodily harm.

Salomon said the problem of anti-Semitic violence in Germany was "less severe than in other countries" in Europe but said he saw a "clear link" between the violence and prejudice in Muslim immigrant communities.

It was not immediately clear, however, who was behind the most recent attacks.

Salomon called for "targeted measures" for prevention of anti-Jewish violence and education on Germany's Nazi past and the Holocaust. - Sapa-AFP

X