'Historical defensive guilt' is among the causes of anti-Semitism in Germany, say community leaders

‘Historical defensive guilt’ over the Shoah is among the causes of anti-Semitism in Germany, say community leaders

Rising anti-Semitism means Jews “no longer feel safe” living in Germany and are considering whether to “pack suitcases”, community leaders have claimed.

Daniel Killy, the leader of Hamburg’s 2,500-strong Jewish community, said the growing popularity of the German far-right, coupled with lapses in security and an influx of refugees from cultures “steeped in hatred” for Jewish people meant they “no longer feel safe here”.

Germany welcomed over one million Muslim refugees over the past year – a figure almost ten times the size of its Jewish population of around 118,000.

Over the same period, 200 German Jews made aliyah, with the Jerusalem Post claiming the community’s high average age means the number is of greater significance than its relatively small size would suggest. 

Killy said “historical defensive guilt” about the Shoah, “obsessive criticism of Israel” and anti-Semitism from some sections of the Muslim and Christian communities were among the challenges facing German Jews.

Local reports claim pro-Israel demonstrators are regularly subjected to vile anti-Semitic taunts. One Jewish eyewitness, 22-year-old Elliot Reich, said counter-protestors shouted “Hamas! Hamas! Jews into gas!” at a 2014 march in Berlin.

Reich, a student, added: “”At the moment I virtually feel like I’m the foreign minister of Israel.”

The chairman of the Jewish cultural association in the city of Wuppertal, near Dusseldorf – whose shul was firebombed by three Palestinians in July 2014 – said the “pure anti-Semitism” directed at the community meant many people were unsure of their futures in Germany.

Leonid Goldberg said: “I thought the time for packed suitcases was for always over. Now I am considering when we need to pack these suitcases again.”