Rabbi, Sons Cursed at and Spat on in Munich

Three Jewish men called 's****y Jews' by two separate people after leaving synagogue in German city

File photo: A member of Jewish community, before the trial of a Syrian charged with attacking an Arab-Israeli, Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2018.
\ HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/ REUTERS

A rabbi and his two sons became the victims of an anti-Semitic attack after visiting a synagogue in the southern German city of Munich.

The three men, a 53-year-old and two 19-year-olds, were insulted and one of them was spat on, the police said on Tuesday.

The three had come out of the synagogue on Saturday afternoon when they were first insulted in German by a man from across the street as "s****y Jews."

The three men had been identified by the unknown perpetrator as Jews as they were wearing the kippah, the traditional Jewish skullcap, the police said.

A woman, also a stranger, watched the incident from her car and then insulted one of the two 19-year-olds as a "s****y Jew."

As the young man approached the passenger side to address the woman, she repeated her insult and spat through the open car window. Then she drove off.

The Criminal Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the two suspects for incitement and insult.

Bavaria's anti-Semitism Commissioner Ludwig Spaenle was horrified by the incident and described it as an "attack on the entire city of Munich."

He called on the citizens of Munich to pay close attention to unusual behavior towards Jews and contact police if necessary: "We must make it clear that we do not tolerate Jews being confronted here in our city."

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Israelite Cultural Community in Munich and upper Bavaria, said the attack was a new dimension in anti-Semitism. The incident was nevertheless symptomatic for the difficult situation many Jews faced, she said.

"Safety in the public arena, which should be a matter of course for all citizens, is increasingly receding for members of the Jewish community," Knobloch said in a statement.

Knobloch called for the Jewish community's dwindling feeling of security to be taken seriously by society as a whole. "Hatred of Jews is a danger for our entire society and needs to be fought as such," she said.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann described the attack as "unacceptable" and "repulsive."

"I condemn anti-Semitic activity in the sharpest terms, irrespective of whether it come from right-wing extremists, hate-filled crazies or Islamist anti-Semites," he said.

Herrmann encouraged members of the Jewish community not to allow themselves to be intimidated and expressed confidence that the perpetrators would be identified and punished.