1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: Bullet holes found at synagogue in Essen

November 18, 2022

Four shots were fired at the rabbi's house near the old Synagogue in the western German city of Essen. Local media reported that the shots were likely fired from a pistol.

Bullet holes can be seen on a glazed door
The bullet holes were found at the rabbi's house near the Old Synagogue in EssenImage: Justin Brosch/ANC-NEWS/dpa/picture alliance

German police launched a large-scale operation around Essen's Old Synagogue on Friday after bullet holes were discovered at the nearby rabbi's residence.

The state interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia is due to arrive in Essen later on Friday to speak with Jewish community members and investigators.

What we know so far

Essen police said the incident concerns "four bullet holes" that were fired from a weapon using live ammunition, rather than from an air gun.

Local media reported that the shots that hit the synagogue were likely fired from a pistol.

No one was injured in the incident and there is no immediate danger to the public, authorities said.

Police searched the area with an explosives-sniffing dog in order to "rule out any other sources of danger." So far, there have not been any indications of potential explosive devices at the synagogue or in the surrounding area.

Authorities said they were in contact with the Jewish community and Essen city officials.

According to a report from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the shooting and suspect were filmed on security cameras.

The Old Synagogue in Essen, Germany
The Old Synagogue in Essen is a major site for German-Jewish culture and historyImage: Rupert Oberhäuser/picture alliance

Jewish cultural center targeted

German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said he was "shocked by this latest attack on Jewish life in Germany."

"Antisemitism must have no place. It is our duty to protect Jewish life," he tweeted.

The Old Synagogue in Essen is now a major site for German-Jewish culture and history. The synagogue regularly hosts events and exhibitions. 

The cultural monument is one of the largest, free-standing synagogues in Europe that was built at the start of the 20th century.

The attack comes just over three years since a deadly shooting that targeted a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

During the attack in October 2019, a gunman killed two people after failing to storm a synagogue on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Prior to the shooting, the attacker posted an antisemitic, racist and misogynistic manifesto online.

rs/jcg (dpa, AFP)