• Germany's news in English

Youths attack rabbi in street for 'being Jewish'

The Local · 29 Aug 2012, 17:09

Published: 29 Aug 2012 17:09 GMT+02:00

Four youths, thought to be of "Arab descent" confronted the 53-year-old in the Schöneberg district of Berlin in the early evening of Tuesday, asking him "Are you a Jew?" according to a police statement.

One of the men blocked his path, while three others stood behind the rabbi and his daughter. The man blocking his path suddenly hit the rabbi repeatedly, injuring his head.

"There were then insults directed towards the man, his beliefs and his mother, as well as a death threat in the direction of his daughter," the police said in a statement.

The youths fled after the attack and the rabbi was taken to hospital. Police said he was wearing "a traditional Jewish head covering."

Prosecutors have launched an investigation.

Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms," saying it was "an attack on the peaceful co-habitation of all people who live in our city."

The Jewish forum for democracy and against anti-Semitism said it was "very shocked by the act of violence."

Group spokesman Levi Salomon said the victim was "one of the first rabbis to be ordained in Germany after the Holocaust" when six million Jews were murdered by Adolf Hitler's Nazis.

Story continues below…

He teaches religious studies at a Jewish school and has pushed for years for dialogue with Christians and Muslims, Salomon said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:53 August 29, 2012 by toysterNY
Nice quick response from the Berlin Mayor to condemn the attack ­ but it may be prudent to go a step further like Hamburg and talk about empowerment, co-habilitation rights and better dialog between Christians, Muslims and Jews.
17:54 August 29, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Happened to me once by a youth or arab descent tried to provoke me by shouting "Auslander" at me. Most people presume I am German until they hear me speak with an English accent. I just laughed at the little A##H### and told him look in the mirror. The very ones who should stop being racist are often the ones who are racist.
18:11 August 29, 2012 by toysterNY
@Berlin fuer alles: Dude, should have been the Jews from the area in Brooklyn where I was raised: Crown Heights ­ they would have gotten their asses handed to them. Would have been like breaking into LL Cool Jays house.
20:52 August 29, 2012 by Englishted
Hope he gets better soon and his daughter gets over the shock and the perpetrators of this cowardly despicable are found (shopped would be good)and brought to justice.
21:02 August 29, 2012 by lucksi
Ahh, religion. What would the world be without it?
23:31 August 29, 2012 by IchBinKönig
'Ahh, religion. What would the world be without it? '

The Peoples Republic of North Korea?

and isn't what the "Arab descent" youth was wondering about the Jewish religion?
00:03 August 30, 2012 by ebbelwoiguy
North Korea worships Kim il Sung. Despite dying in 1994 he is the "eternal" head of state.

The world would do well without the monotheistic religions in particular.
01:00 August 30, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Yes, Government/Cult of Personality worship is safe! Or is that just what it says in your little red book. North Korea = Good.
01:27 August 30, 2012 by Eric1
"Youths" is that code word for some group? Perhaps a racist, bigoted group that hates Jews? You can't demonize all young people. Just name the group if it's politically correct to do so.
02:27 August 30, 2012 by Peter Helenius
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
03:39 August 30, 2012 by Elena G
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
05:15 August 30, 2012 by ProgandaLady
Tolerance is Crime when applied to Evil. -Thomas Mann
09:03 August 30, 2012 by alex533
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:37 August 30, 2012 by ddiddy
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:22 August 30, 2012 by M Australian
Another reason why Germany needs Australian style anti vilification laws.

Zero tolerance for intolerance. And a judicial system which recognises the gravity of and acts as a deterrent to hate crime,
12:06 August 30, 2012 by raandy
An obvious hate crime, directed at one of Islams enemies, Israel.

These youths are taught this prejudice very strongly in their homes.

TS Elliot , once said "prejudice has to be carefully taught.".

These youths need to know the justice system here in Germany will not condone such outrageous acts towards those that have different values, views and religion.
14:04 August 30, 2012 by roboni
One of the most wonderful experiences and visions I've ever had since living in Berlin happened one day while I was sitting on a city bus. I saw a tall Jewish man walking down the Kudam in his long black coat, large hat and two long curls down the sides of his face. He had such conviction in his step. His steps said, "Never again," and I'm back!! I had to do everything to keep from crying in front of the other passengers. I wanted to run out of the bus and give him a high five for telling it like it is. I was so proud to be living in Berlin where Jews could return here and live like normal citizens. There must be zero intolerance of hate crimes in this city. And the government must do everything to stamp out the growth in Neo-Nazi's, rasicst thugs and cowards etc. The police and government must do everything to make sure events like this doesn't happen in this wonderful city and in Germany especially now in light of them turning a blind eye to the 10 Germans of foreign background who were killed by NeoNazi's this last decade. We cannot sit down and be quiet because this can happen to anyone. One shouldn't have to speak English or wear so-called normal clothes so that thugs don't kick your ass for not being a "typical auslaender." Besides what would the Turkish/Arab community have said if someone went up to a woman wearing a hijab, asked her her religion and then kicked her butt in front of her children? Hate crimes can and does happen on both sides and it must be stopped.
21:16 August 30, 2012 by Jazzineva
This kind of intolerance must always be condemned and I don't care who it is against whom. I will continue to defend Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, blacks, whites, Asians, Hindus, Latinos, liberals, conservatives - whoever, wherever - against violent attacks from any group or individual. We must always rise up against hatred, racism and prejudice. It's always wrong!
12:52 August 31, 2012 by ungt
To all those who are having a go at people of Arab descent - THAT is also prejudice. @fueralles you are no better then the person who called you an Auslander. The article only says alleged also. Until it is verified this kind of guess the racial profile should not be the basis of a whole article, poor journalism.

I'm a newcomer to Berlin and I love this city the one thing I find difficult is the mentality of "us and them," and that only white people have an entitlement above all others and are the only ones that are not Auslanders.

There is diversity here but not really.
18:23 August 31, 2012 by michael valerio
Wake up Germany, jews, muslims confronting each other on the streets. Whats next? Germany is becoming a multi racial, multi religious melting pot and the politicians are allowing it to happen. The end result will be no more Germany. Just another third world country.
21:27 August 31, 2012 by magmaSKG
Case study 1: I have just fled Poland after experiencing the Holocaust in its full blast. I might have managed to survive but the memory of my boyfriend being imprisoned, my niece being killed and my brother being tortured still haunts me. I still know nothing about the whereabouts of my father. Walking downtown in Caracas (the city that welcomed me after fleeing Germany), I come across a tall blond guy dressed in a black long coat. My gaze wonders and freezes upon seeing the big Nazi Cross pined on his coat. My world goes black and I lose all sense and logic. I ask him if indeed he is a Nazi. He proudly tells me that he is ex-SS. Now, do I have a right to hit him?

Most of you would say no, I definately, don't. I totally agree with you. But would you look at my act with a hint of sympathy and understanding if I did? Or would you condemn me as a racist?

Case study 2: I have just fled Palestine exeriencing ethnic cleansing in all its glory. I might have managed to survive but the memory of my boyfriend being imprisoned, my niece being killed and my brother being tortured still haunts me. I still know nothing about the whereabouts of my father. Walking downtown in Berlin (the city that claims to have absolved racism) I come across a tall guy dressed in a black long coat. My gaze wonders and freezes upon seeing the white little hat on his head. My world goes black and I lose all sense and logic. I ask him if indeed he is a Jew. He proudly tells me that he is a Rabbi. Now, do I have a right to hit him?

I'm neither Jew nor Palestinian. I'm just trying to put a new spin to an article that links the Rabbi attack to the circumcision trial, rather than mentioning the recent verdict in the Rachel Corrie case or the latest riots, fuelled by the attacks against a Palestinian family. Oh, I'm sorry, me pointing out that Jews tried to burn a whole family alive inside their car is considered anti-semitism here in Germany, right?

I just don't get this country. They are feeling so guilty for the war crimes committed 50 years ago that they are letting the victims become the victimizers? Mmm, yeah, because denouncing Israel's war crimes is anti-semitism. Then someone help me define facism, please.

And "noch einmal": noooo, I don't justify the attack. I find it preposterous. All I'm trying to do is give the article a different perspective.
06:23 September 1, 2012 by wenddiver
Youths attack rabbi in street for 'being Jewish'

I thought they were all Jewish??????
11:36 September 1, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
One prayer, which I remember well from World War 2, started with the words ­ Give peace in our time -. My time is now running out, but hope dies last!

One of the biggest problems of our human world, is not the religions themselves, but their misuse for political and financial reasons. This can be seen at its worst in Africa, where Christians are being killed everyday in the name of Islam. Nevertheless, what the Jews do in Palestine and what George Bush (who claims to be a Christian), ordered to be done in Iraq must also be placed in the same category.

The teaching of God, according to the last two mentioned religions, does not allow the killing of other human-beings, but there has never been at time since Cain and Abel in which wars and murders have stopped. We should therefore be careful, when just blaming Islam for all the problems of multicultural integration and co-operation. On the other hand, anybody who grows up, believing that by losing his life, in battle for his religion, he will immediately reach Paradise, will always be a potential risk to those who do not believe the teachings of Muhammed.

The answer to all these problems, would be to judge people for what they do, rather for what they are, but this is unlikely in a world full of arrogance and egoism.
09:40 September 3, 2012 by urov
The irony is that the Jewish organizations throughout Europe have backed open immigration policies for those coming from Middle Eastern countries.
03:35 September 4, 2012 by bendergazos
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:46 September 8, 2012 by radical.islamist
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
Pegida demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Followers of the xenophobic Pegida movement marched in two factions on Monday evening in the capital of Saxony, brandishing fierce accusations of treason against one another.

Is it fair to call the AfD far right?
AfD leaders, from left, Georg Pazderski, Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA.

The AfD has been dubbed "far-right" over the past year as it has taken on a tougher stance against immigration and made gains in state elections. But at what point does one call a group far-right?

Dresden police guard Islamic buildings after mosque attack
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

All Islamic buildings in the capital of Saxony have been put under police protection on Tuesday after explosive devices were detonated at a mosque and a congress centre in the city.

Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
Photo: DPA

German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns.

Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd