Anti-Semitism rose threefold in Germany in one year, new official figures have revealed. The figures come as part of a wider focus on online hate speech.
According to newly released figures from the Ministry of Justice, there were 2,083 cases of attacks on Jews, Jewish property, and hate speech last year, up from just 691 cases in 2014, The Times has reported.
Previous analysis of crime figures had put the number of anti-Semitic cases in 2015 at 1,366, but closer analysis revealed that crimes such as the smashing of headstones in Jewish ceremonies, or starting fires at synagogues had been incorrectly classified as criminal damage or attempted arson in some states, with no mention made of the anti-Semitic nature of the crimes.
The revised data comes from a study by the Ministry of Justice into the rise of xenophobic and “far right” crime, obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung. It represents the first attempt by the Federal government to level the reporting criteria for such crimes across the German states.
Last spring, at a Justice summit of ministers from the federal and state governments, it was noted that although “right wing” and xenophobic crimes had been recognised as a category of their own since 1992, no data was being collected on those crimes specifically.
The data since collected confirms the government’s view that “far right” crime is exponentially on the rise in Germany, especially on the internet. The government’s analysis appears to attribute any and all crimes with a racial or religious aspect to the “far right”.
It showed that investigations into “sedition” and “violence” had risen by 130 per cent from 2014/15, with 5,700 such crimes investigated last year.
Meanwhile, investigations into incitement to violence on the internet also saw a sharp increase, from 500 cases in 2014 to 2,300 last year.
Significantly, the rise of xenophobic crime has outstripped that of the spreading of right-wing propaganda. Although the latter saw a rise, the increase was less pronounced. Last year 13,576 prosecutions for crimes connected to propaganda and the sharing of “unconstitutional symbols” including swastikas were pursued, up nearly 20 per cent on 2014. Just over 1,100 were connected to internet use.
However, these crimes include cases of Islamophobia – including attacks against migrant shelters, of which there were 1,005 last year, including 92 cases of arson.