Two Syrian nationals are suspected of carrying out an alleged anti-Semitic attack after a Jewish man was assaulted outside of a rail station in the German city of Potsdam on Saturday.
According to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper, the unidentified 25-year old was visibly Jewish, wearing a kippa with a Star of David. “When I got off the tram at the main station, I noticed shadows behind me,” he recalled, alleging that the two men spat on him and screamed anti-Semitic threats and insults.
Saturday’s assault is the latest in a wave of racially and religiously motivated crimes against Jews to rock Germany in recent years. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency reported last month that the number of anti-Semitic acts of violence rose sharply last year alongside a further increase in those identified as far-right extremists. The BfV agency said in its annual report that incidents of anti-Semitic violence increased by 71.4 percent in 2018 to 48, from 28 the previous year.
Worries about the authorities’ inability to combat anti-Semitic violence led Germany’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, to state in May that he could no longer recommend that Jews wear a kippa everywhere and any time in Germany. He retracted his statement following a public outcry. In response to his statement, German tabloid newspaper Bild printed a cut-out kippa for readers to wear in solidarity with their Jewish neighbors.
In one high-profile case last year, a non-Jewish Israeli man was beaten while wearing a kippa in Berlin. The man, 21-year old Arab Israeli Adam Armush, told broadcaster Deutsche Welle that he had wanted to find out whether it was safe to walk in the street dressed as a Jew.