Members of the small Jewish community in the West German city of Bochum will no longer wear Kippot because of attacks on them by Muslim youths, they announced in November.
“Germans more than any other people in Europe should understand what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday
The issue would be dealt with in the context of the German authorities’ “efforts to integrate newcomers into German life and values,” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said.
“The German authorities, church leadership and NGOs have a moral obligation to ensure 21st-century German Jews will never have to hide their Jewish identities on the streets of Germany,” he added.
Cooper said he has not heard of any government efforts to rope in antisemitism among Muslim communities in the Federal Republic since his 2014 meeting with Maas.
German news outlet Radio Bochum first reported on November 16 that a representative of the community said members will stop wearing kippot in public because they are routinely faced with insults on public streets when they are recognized as Jews.
“Muslim youths attacked people of the Jewish faith,” according to the article. Bochum is an industrial city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of nearly 365,000. Bochum’s Jewish community, which includes the towns of Herne and Hattingen, numbers over 1,000.
Esther Schapira, a German journalist and expert in the field of modern antisemitism, tweeted on Tuesday: “It is often the small [news] items, in which the scandal is hidden, which for most people is not a scandal: Antisemitism in everyday life.”
Schapira, along with journalist Georg M. Hafner, wrote one of the authoritative books on contemporary antisemitism in Germany titled Israel is blamed for everything. Why the Jewish state is so hated.
Commenting on the Radio Bochum news item, Ali Utlu, a Turkish ex-Muslim activist in Germany, tweeted to his over 19,000 followers: “What a disgrace 72 years after the Shoah.”
Bochum has been a hotbed for anti-Israel hatred. In 2014, some 120 activists marched on Bochum’s city hall chanting “Israel, child murderers” and “Allahu Akbar.” The anti-Israel demonstrators were protesting Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.
Most of Bochum’s pre-World War 2 Jewish community, starting in 1941, was wiped out by the Nazis in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz.