One of Germany's leading Jewish figures said Thursday he had been threatened on a Berlin street because of his religion.

"The culprit evidently felt provoked by the sight of a Jewish prayer book," said Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews.

A city police spokesman said "mutual threats" during the Wednesday incident were being investigated, but declined to give more details.

The President of the Central Council, Dieter Graumann, told dpa that "this had the appearance of being an act of racism.”

However, Kramer rejected claims that he pulled a gun during the incident - saying he merely told the man threatening him that he had a gun and opened his jacket front so the man could see the pistol.

This was intended to prevent the situation escalating, Kramer told dpa.

Wednesday, the day of the incident, was Yom Kippur, the most important day of the Jewish religious year.

An incident in late August when a rabbi was assaulted on a Berlin street led to international headlines.