MUNICH – The right-wing extremists blamed a large increase in anti-Semitic crimes in Germany last year, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday after the release of the country’s annual crime report.
Jewish groups and politicians condemned the increase, with 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes registered in 2019 – an increase of 13 percent from the 1,768 crimes reported last year.
“The biggest threat is still the threat from the right,” Seehofer said, adding that crime from right-wing extremists accounted for more than half of all politically motivated crimes.
Right-wing extremists were responsible for more than 90 percent of anti-Semitic crimes and a similar percentage of anti-Islamic crimes, he added.
“We have to remain vigilant and deal with it,”
Overall, the number of politically motivated crimes increased by 14 percent last year to 41,177, of which more than half were committed by right-wing radicals, the report showed, although Seehofer said that left-wing crime had jumped by 23 percent as well.
Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council for Jews, urged politicians and the public to do more to combat anti-Semitism, which he said had become “commonplace in Germany.”
He added that the killing of two people by a gunman outside a synagogue in the city of Halle in October “was a signal.”
The coronavirus pandemic had an “intensifying effect,” he added. “Support for conspiracy myths and opponents of the pandemic measures are not even deterred from relativizing the Holocaust. Particular attention must be paid to the growing right-wing extremism.”
The Halle attack was one of several high-profile attacks in the past year.
In February, a racist gunman murdered nine migrants near Frankfurt before killing his mother and himself.
In June 2019, migrant politician Walter Luebcke was shot close to home in the Hesse state. A radical on the right acknowledged the crime, but later withdrew its statement.
Police in Germany have also warned that thousands of protesters at rallies who oppose shutdown measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are largely driven by right-wing sympathizers.