Police in the German capital have opened an investigation into hate incitement after the Star of David was found graffitied on the doors of several homes in Berlin thought to belong to Jewish people.
Four cases have been reported to Berlin police in recent days, with three incidents reported on Saturday alone. A 28-year-old anonymous Jewish resident told the Morgenpost that since the event she now fears for her safety in the German capital for the first time.
She said she was “incredibly shocked and frightened” when she returned home to find the threatening sight on her front door Thursday evening. She added that she was not sure who could have been responsible or if they had entered her apartment, which has a mezuzah on the door.
At least two images published on social media show the Star of David scrawled on the front of an apartment complex, and another on an individual apartment.
As part of an intimidation campaign, some people in Berlin have started marking the buildings where Jews live pic.twitter.com/DapVPnIJ6v— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 14, 2023
Another woman who has lived in Berlin for eight years, who was identified only as Yael, told the Israel Hayom newspaper she saw similar graffiti on a building near where she lives, on the route her son takes to school. “It is a punch to the gut,” she said.
She said she debated whether or not to send her children to their schools ever since Hamas declared Friday a “day of rage”.
“But when I saw the Star of David, I kept them at home,” she said. “And my children are in a completely public system, they speak German, most of their friends are Germans, not Israelis.” She added that it has come to the point of telling her children not to speak Hebrew.
Berichte aus der jüdischen Community in Berlin. Gestern wurden private Wohnhäuser, in denen Jüdinnen/ Juden leben, mit Davidsternen markiert. pic.twitter.com/ZeL4Uw93sC— Anna Staroselski (@AStaroselski) October 14, 2023
German police have confirmed that at least one Jewish person lives in one of the marked buildings. A police spokesperson said: “It is now the subject of our investigation to find out whether the other houses have a Jewish resident and whether the incidents are connected.”
The alleged attempt at intimidation, which is a crime under German law, echoes the antisemitic persecution of Jews by Nazi brownshirts, who in 1933 painted the Star of David on the doors and windows of Jewish businesses to discourage Germans from doing business there.
There have been numerous reports of antisemitic hate crimes in Berlin since Hamas’s terror attack last weekend, with police increasing their presence near Jewish institutions and synagogues. Germany’s police said on Friday that there was an “increased threat level” faced by Jewish and Israeli public buildings across the country.
Despite several cities in Germany banning pro-Palestinian marches since last weekend’s terror attacks, protestors have nonetheless taken to the streets.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged a “zero tolerance” approach to antisemitism, and on Thursday told the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, the country had seen “disgraceful images on our streets in which the most brutal acts of terror have been celebrated in broad daylight.”
Scholz further announced a ban on all Hamas activities in Germany, including the use of their symbols. Public displays of support for Hamas have been illegal in the country since 2021. The EU has listed the Islamist group as a terror organisation since 2003.