An anti-Semitic incident that occurred in a Berlin police academy last month, and was exposed this week in one of the German capital's most widely read papers, has caused a small political and media storm several days after the publication of data pointing to an escalation in right-wing violence in Germany.
The Berliner Zeitung reported that an entire class of cadets expressed their unwillingness to remember the Holocaust," during a compulsory class that dealt with the Nazi regime. Some of the cadets said during the class that "Jews are rich."
One of the witnesses to the incident was 83-year-old Holocaust survivor Isaac Becher, whose family - parents and two sisters - were murdered in German work camps. For the past 20 years Becher has been lecturing policeman about his wartime experiences.
Becher said that he witnessed similar behavior during lectures he gave to German soldiers. But Becher also said that "the instructors always counter such outbursts immediately," and that he was pleased with the police chief's reaction to the incident.
Statistical data points to the fact that during the past year 147 events classified as being of an "extreme right-wing nature," including people chanting "Zig Heil," and Nazi salutes, were registered in the German army.
A spokesperson for the police academy said that the class that was involved in the incident was required to take classes on "the role of the police during the Holocaust," and that all students receive lectures on the annihilation of European Jewry, and are taken on tours of Ziekenhuizen concentration camp in Germany.
Vice president of the Bundestag , Woflgang Tirza, warned against the radical right-wing's infiltration into the ranks of the police. "The mere suspicion that the 'spirit of anti-Semitism' is spreading within the police is dangerous enough," he said.
The secretary general of the of Jewish Organizations in Germany, Stephan Kramer, called the incident a "scandal," and said that he had heard similar comments in public institutions in Germany.
"The German police incident reflects the society as a whole," said Rabbi Andreas Nehama, a major activist in Berlin's Jewish community.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now