BERLIN (JTA) — A 76-year-old man was punched in the face by a male teen in broad daylight in Berlin in what police are calling an anti-Semitic incident.
The suspect was released to the custody of his father, according to news reports. The victim, who was injured on his forehead and nose, was not Jewish, police later said.
It is the second such incident to occur in recent weeks in the former East Berlin district of Pankow.
The incident occurred Monday morning, when the 16-year-old boy and four companions reportedly blocked the path of the man. When the man asked that he be allowed to pass, the boy demanded, “What do you want, you Jew?”
As the man tried to respond, the boy – named by the German-language BZ newspaper as “Steven” – reportedly punched the man several times in the face; both fell on the sidewalk. A witness, Vincent Seidel, 29, pulled the teenager off his victim and held him to the ground with his knee until police arrived; Seidel, too, was reportedly punched by the youth.
Police also told the BZ that the suspect is known to them. State security police are investigating the case.
The incident follows a similar attack in the same Berlin district on October 28, when a 70-year-old Jewish man was insulted with anti-Semitic comments and physically injured by unknown assailants. The man reportedly was not wearing anything that would identify him as Jewish.
In that case, too, when the victim tried to respond verbally to the anti-Semitic insults, he was attacked and beaten, suffering injuries to his head and chin. Here, too, a pedestrian intervened, causing the attackers to flee.