German Synagogues Hire Armed Guards Amid Surge in anti-Semitism

Leader of local Jewish community says Gaza war is not so much a cause as a pretext to 'let it all out.'

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Protesters rally in Berlin against anti-Semitism on September 14, 2014.
Protesters rally in Berlin against anti-Semitism on September 14, 2014.Credit: Reuters

A recent surge in anti-Semitism in Germany prompted the posting of armed guards at synagogues throughout the country during Yom Kippur Services, CBS News reported over the weekend.

"We haven't had this dimension at all before," Deiter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told CBS. "When you imagine in German streets, people here chanting – a roaring mob chanting – Jews to be gassed, to be slaughtered, to be burned."

Graumann said he did not feel Israel's recent offensive in Gaza was not a reason for the spike in anti-Semitism but rather a "pretext," according to CBS. "It's an occasion to let it out," he said.

While Muslims have provided most of the incendiary rhetoric in the streets of Germany, reported CBS, Monika Schwartz Friesel, of Berlin's Technical University has made a "disturbing discovery" about online anti-Semitism.

"We saw that more than 60 percent of the writers, who clearly evoke anti-Semitic stereotypes, come from the middle of society and many of them are highly educated," she said.

The recent developments have Jews in Germany worried, said Graumann. "And many Jews here ask the question 'Has our Jewish population a future in Germany?' I haven't heard that question for many, many years," he added.

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