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Germany

German Police Trainees Accused of Anti-Semitism

The Berlin Police President has ordered an investigation into reports of anti-Semitism at a police training school in the German capital.

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The case at the police school in Berlin is set to be investigated

"If these accusations prove correct, there will be consequences," warned Dieter Glietsch, who was said to be angry he was never directly informed of the recent incidences at the Berlin police training school.

The police president called for an immediate and extensive investigation into the case and met Monday with the school's directors and teachers.

Holocaust as a compulsory subject

The sudden flurry of media reports pointing to latent anti-Semitism among police trainees was sparked in late February, when budding officers apparently responded to a compulsory class on the Third Reich by saying they were bored of being constantly reminded of the Holocaust and that Jews were known to be wealthy.

Deutschland Holocaust Gedenktag Gedenkstätte Berlin

Berlin's Holocaust Memorial is a daily reminder in the capital of Nazi crimes

Classes on xenophobia and Germany's Nazi past are part of the school's curriculum and trainees are obliged to attend the lectures, which regularly feature eyewitness accounts.

Not the first time

For over twenty years, 83-year-old Holocaust survivor Isaak Behar has been giving talks at schools, the German Armed Forces and the Berlin Police School on his experiences in Auschwitz, earning both a Berlin Order of Merit and a Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor for his work. He told the daily Berliner Zeitung that the alleged anti-Semitic comments his talk in February elicited were not the first he has heard on the lecture circuit, but was not willing to go into detail.

"I am satisfied with the way the school's teachers and director responded, and in particular by the police president's reaction," he told the newspaper.

Widening anti-Semitism?

Synagoge in der Oranienburger Straße Berlin

Members of Germany's Jewish community feel anti-Semitism is again on the rise

Berlin Rabbi Andreas Nachama told the Berliner Zeitung that the incident is symptomatic of a wider trend in German society.

"A rise in anti-Semitism is apparent everywhere," he said. "This is both regrettable and disturbing."

But in fact, official statistics show that anti-Semitic offenses have fallen off in recent years, with the figure dropping from 326 incidents in 2005 to 274 in 2006.

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