A 16-year-old schoolboy wearing a Star of David ring was left beaten and bruised following a violent antisemitic attack in Graz last week.
The German boy was walking in the vicinity of the Bischöfliches Gymnasium — a grammar school in a leafy residential neighbourhood north of the city centre — when he was approached by two youths aged between 15 and 16.
Having spotted the ring on his finger, the assailants asked the victim if he was Jewish. When he replied yes, the attackers then verbally assaulted him, telling him to p*ss off.
After that, according to an account of the incident last Wednesday published by the Jewish Community of Graz, the assailants set upon the boy, slapping and punching him in the face and calling him a Scheiß Jude (“sh*t Jew”).
“It’s simply a reality that the word Jude has become an insult on the school playground,” the community warned in their statement.
Following the assault, the boy was taken to the Landeskrankenhaus Graz where he was treated for his cuts, bruises, and split lip.
Graz is Austria’s second-largest city and is also home to its second-largest Jewish community with over 150 members, a synagogue, and a beit midrash.
Speaking to the JC, President of the Jewish Community of Graz Elie Rosen confirmed that there has been a perceptible uptick in antisemitism in the southern Austrian city in the last three to four years.
Mr Rosen said that antisemitism is mostly in the form of letters or phone calls to the community, but added the assault on the German schoolboy is not the only act of physical antisemitic violence to have occurred in recent months, referring to an assault that took place last month in a public park.
That antisemitism comes not so much from the far-right, Mr Rosen observed, but increasingly from the far-left and Muslim extremists.
In recent months, Graz has been a focal point for trials of jihadists who have returned from the Islamic State.
In this case, the identities and motives of the assailants have not yet been established following their flight from the scene of the crime, state police in Styria confirmed to the JC.
Mr Rosen praised state and local police for the handling of the attack and their cooperation in dealing with antisemitism in general.
He said he wished, however, to see greater education concerning Israel and the conflict with the Palestinians in schools, further political action to deal with the BDS movement, and more solidarity among religious communities in Graz.