German Jews left terrified after horrific Hamas terrorist attack

Jewish organisations across Germany say each day is now a 'living horror'


Riot police officers bring a pro-Palestinian demonstrator into a police van at Herrmannplatz, Berlin on October 11, 2023, as pro-Palestinian gatherings took place in the German capital despite a police ban, five days after Palestinian militants launched a surprise attack on Israel, which has responded with a massive bombardment of Gaza. Israel is reeling from the deadliest attack in its 75-year history, as more than 1,500 militants stormed through the Gaza security barrier in their coordinated land, air and sea attack on the Jewish Sabbath. Israel has been relentlessly pounding Hamas targets in Gaza in response, and the war has already claimed the lives of more than 3,700 lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, soldiers and combatants. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jewish organisations across Germany say each day is now a “living horror” as they are terrified of being the victims of terror attacks following Hamas' attack on Israel.

The Jewish community fears that the ongoing situation in the Jewish state will spill out onto the streets.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to ban all Hamas activities in Germany and to prosecute anyone involved in such activities. He also announced a ban on the Samidoun pro-Palestinian network.

Berlin’s deputy head of government, Franziska Giffey, welcomed the move. “Anyone who glorifies and celebrates the terror of Hamas violates this rule of law and is guilty,” she said.

Lorenz Blumenthaler, spokesperson for the Berlin-based Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which combats extremism, racism and antisemitism, told the JC: “We expect the worse, especially after Hamas published posts and called for attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions.

“We are therefore in constant contact with the security forces, as we fear the outbreak of antisemitic pogroms.

"Jewish people in the city are very, very afraid and so afraid that most of the Jewish institutions in Germany will remain closed. It only takes one person to cause the worst, which could trigger mobilisation of attacks all over Germany. “

Berlin police admitted that they were caught by surprise and overwhelmed by 1,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators last weekend, even though just 50 had officially registered their presence.

Protests also took place in Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt, in the state of Hesse.

The Hessian Commissioner for Anti-Semitism, Uwe Becker, denounced the pro-Palestine rally in Frankfurst as “glorification of violence and the promotion of destruction against Israel”.

Hesse’s Interior Minister Peter Beuth said: “We will not allow cold-blooded murders of Jews to be celebrated in public places in Germany.”

Writing in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, Benjamin Graumann, chairman of the
Jewish community in Frankfurt, said the “expressed support for Israel is only credible if it does not remain just lip service.

“However, the cheering people in Berlin-Neukölln and the openly displayed antisemitism at demonstrations have so far remained unpunished. Instead, Jewish institutions are now being increasingly protected and most citizens shrug their shoulders at this without recognising how paradoxical this situation is.

“In view of the atrocities committed by Hamas, no one needs to be afraid that Palestinian institutions in Germany will now be exposed to acts of revenge by Jews. Instead, it’s the exact opposite.

"Jews in Germany and all of Europe must now fear that Hamas’s barbaric crimes will lead to us experiencing even more antisemitism here.”

Even though the authorities banned the demonstration in Frankfurt, 1,000 people still attended.

Mirjam Wenzel, director of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, told the JC that she and her team are now in a state of “horror and trauma”.

She said: “A massacre has happened in Israel. We are talking about deadly attacks, mass rapes, kidnapping, mass murder. This is really a pogrom-like situation, and for Jews it will be a re-traumatization. It is a living horror.

“Most Jewish people have a biographic relation to Israel, it was a place that was always there providing a sense of assurance for them, even if they never visited it.

“Now this sense of psychological security for them has been obliterated by what has happened.”

A pro-Israel rally in Frankfurt last weekend attracted 2,000 people.

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