MUNICH -- Scrawling swastikas on synagogues, Jew-baiting during demonstrations, desecration of Jewish cemeteries: Once again, 75 years after the Holocaust, hatred against Jews is taking place openly in Germany, even in schools.
Current figures from the German government show that the anti-Semitism is not only a perception: The number of crimes linked to anti-Semitism in Germany increased dramatically over the past year. While 788 cases were registered in 2013, there were 864 cases registered in 2014 -- a 10 percent increase.
In German schoolyards, the word “Jew” is increasingly used as an insult. That became clear this weekend at the Jewish Youth Congress in Berlin, an event in which Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's Domestic Intelligence Service, also participated.
According to sources from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a major German newspaper, one of the findings from the Youth Congress indicates that the badgering of Jewish students, primarily by Arab children, has caused some students to "leave regular schools and transfer to Jewish institutions.”
However, Dilek Kolat, Berlin's senator for labor, women and integration, denies that the attacks mainly come from children of Arab descent. Although the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin has increased in recent years, 90 percent of the perpetrators came from the extreme right, Kolat said recently to RBB, a German broadcasting company. "In 2013, of eight anti-Semitic attacks, seven came from the right and only one of them from a foreigner. The problem cannot be made to focus on Muslims," said Kolat.
But the rise in anti-Semitic incidents has undoubtedly led to changes among students. “Due to specific cases of bullying and a general climate of anti-Jewish hostilities, some pupils prefer to attend Jewish schools and private schools," Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Last week, Berger wrote in The Times of Israel that "anti-Semitic incidents occur every day in Germany, on the streets, in schoolyards, in train stations, on the soccer field, and throughout social media."
Maassen states: “It is a fact that there are people who feel provoked by a kippa or the Star of David. One must be simply aware of that and, in those areas, one should act in an appropriate way.”
Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, spoke out about this growing problem. In some areas of German cities, wearing a kippa or a necklace with a Star of David is seen as a provocation and might be the reason for attacks, Schuster said a few days ago.
The Jewish community of Berlin, which is the largest in Germany, fears such attacks. Recently, publishers of the German-Jewish newspaper Jüdisches Berlin decided to mail their newspaper in neutral, unmarked envelopes so no one would know the recipients are Jewish.
This post was originally published on HuffPost Germany and was translated into English.
UPDATE: March 5, 5:43 p.m. -- This article has been updated with additional reporting on the claims made by those at the Jewish Youth Conference, and with statements from Dilek Kolat.