Police Say Attack on 76-year-old Berlin Man Was anti-Semitic

The victim, who is not Jewish, was cursed, punched in second such incident in recent weeks in Berlin's Pankow neighborhood

A visitor wearing a jewish kippah in Germany's Bundestag, Berlin, Germany, October 17, 2019
MICHELE TANTUSSI/ REUTERS

A 76-year-old man was punched in the face by a male teenager in broad daylight in Berlin in what police are calling an anti-Semitic incident.

The suspect was released to the custody of his father, according to news reports. The victim, who was injured on his forehead and nose, was not Jewish, police later said.

It is the second such incident in recent weeks in the Berlin district of Pankow.

The incident occurred Monday morning, when the 16-year-old boy and four companions reportedly blocked the man’s path. When the man asked that he be allowed to pass, the boy demanded, “What do you want, you Jew?”

As the man tried to respond, the boy — named by the German-language BZ newspaper as “Steven” — reportedly punched him several times in the face. Both fell to the sidewalk.

A witness, Vincent Seidel, 29, pulled the teenager off the man and held him to the ground with his knee until police arrived. Seidel, too, was reportedly punched by the youth.

Police also told BZ that the suspect is known to them. State security police are investigating the case.

The incident follows a similar attack in the same Berlin district on Oct. 28, when a 70-year-old Jewish man was insulted with anti-Semitic comments and physically injured by unknown assailants. The man reportedly was not wearing anything that would identify him as Jewish.