A man takes pictures of the Holocaust memorial after heavy snowfall in Berlin. Picture: REUTERS
A man takes pictures of the Holocaust memorial after heavy snowfall in Berlin. Picture: REUTERS

Berlin — The number of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany rose 2.5% in 2017 despite an overall drop in politically motivated crimes, statistics showed on Tuesday. The figures reinforce fears about growing hostility after several high-profile attacks in Berlin.

Interior minister Horst Seehofer said 1,504 antiSemitic offences were reported in 2017, up from 1,468 in 2016, though he said there had been fewer attacks on hostels housing refugees.

"It is not surprising that the so-called "imported antiSemitic crimes" are rising — even if at a lower level. But I want to make clear that almost 95% of antiSemitic crimes in 2017 had a right-wing motive," Seehofer said.

Some politicians, including many in the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), blame the influx of more than 1.6-million refugees and other migrants, many fleeing war zones in Syria, Iraq and beyond.

Seehofer cited recent offences, including the bullying of Jewish children in school, an attack on an Israeli Arab who wore a Jewish kippa on a Berlin street and the awarding of a top music award to rappers accused of reciting antiSemitic lyrics.

Germany is not the only country confronting antiSemitism, but the legacy of the Holocaust, in which Nazis killed at least six-million Jews, means Germans feel a special sense of responsibility.

Politically motivated crimes overall fell 4.6% in 2017, the first decrease in four years, Seehofer said.

Attacks on refugee accommodation fell by nearly 69%. With 312 reported attacks in the past year, numbers returned to levels that preceded the influx of migrants from 2015.

Overall, crime was down by 9.6%, helped by a big fall in immigration-related offences such as illegal border crossings.

Reuters

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