Germany experienced 2,000 crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions last year, a 13% rise on the previous year, according to a Sunday newspaper. That’s about 1 in 20 of all politically motivated offenses.
Germany's annual report on politically motivated crimes will detail more than 41,000 crimes last year attributed to far-right and far-left individuals, with anti-Semitic acts amounting to 2,000 offenses, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.
Citing data to be published next week by the Federal Criminal Police Office, the paper said experts blamed the upward trend of politically motivated crime on an increasing belief by perpetrators that the behavior is socially acceptable..
The 41,000 cases overall represented a 14% increase on the level in 2018, with 22,000 crimes classed as extreme right and 10,000 crimes as extreme left — often so-called "propaganda” acts such as smearing graffiti, with some far more serious.
These categories had grown by 9 and 24% respectively, Welt am Sonntag reported.
Particularly alarming were politically motivated crimes in Germany's eastern states of Thuringia and Brandenburg, where such cases had jumped by 40 and 52% respectively.
The data "unfortunately” shows a "massive problem” at both ends of the spectrum, said Thorsten Frei, deputy parliamentary leader of Chancellor Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).
Read more: German far-right crimes rise
Politicians, journalists targeted
"Hate” tirades on the Internet were often aired "unrestrained” against communal politicians or journalists, said Frei, and some even included murder threats.
"Where ever the concept of "the enemy” [Feinbild] became entrenched in minds this sometimes quickly led to [threats] being acted out, said Frei while calling for the "swamp” of contemptuous language to be stamped out.
"People's reticence to resort to violence has fallen," Jörg Radek, deputy GdP police trade union leader told the paper. "People become violent more quickly because they are increasingly confident that their acts are socially accepted, said Radek.
"All violence from the right and left must be outlawed,” he said, "whether it's directed at a camera crew, emergency workers, or the crew of a police patrol car.”
In recent decades, Germany has witnessed a string of far-right racist crimes, including fatal shooting sprees in Halle in October and in Hanau in February.
Seehofer subsequently declared far-right extremism the "biggest security threat facing Germany," promising a beefed-up security response.
ipj/mm (dpa, AFP)