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9 November 2005
DUSSELDORF - Discrimination against Jewish people continues in Germany, the leader of the country's Council of Jews Paul Spiegel said Wednesday at a ceremony on the 67th anniversary of the Nazi Party's first big attack on the Jewish community, the 'Night of Broken Glass' (Kristallnacht).
Spiegel said in Dusseldorf that Jews in Germany remained a "minority that is repeatedly discriminated against".
The large number of neo-Nazi crimes showed that "even today, racism and anti-Semitism are almost an everyday fact again", he said.
On the evening of November 9, 1938, Nazi militants ransacked or set fire to synagogues and other Jewish properties all over Germany in an event known as Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass.
Spiegel quoted provisional German Interior Ministry figures showing some 4,600 racist or anti-Semitic offences in the first half of this year. Between 2000 and 2004, nearly 60,000 such offences, including 4,000 involving violence, appeared in police statistics.
He said attacks on Jewish cemeteries, nasty graffiti on walls and hate-filled letters to the Council of Jews or to Jewish communities were "so common that the news media hardly reports them".
He called on the next German coalition to make the battle against "anti-democratic activity by the violent right" into a central theme of government.
German political foundations and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) joined in Berlin earlier Wednesday in an appeal for the next German government to keep up efforts to prevent anti-Semitism.
Deirdre Berger, who heads the AJC German office in Berlin, said such a vital issue ought to be mentioned in the policy agreement drafted by chancellor designate Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU alliance and outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats.
The recommendation, which was backed by 24 civic groups including foundations associated with four main German political parties, said the next coalition government should copy the exemplary international role of the outgoing government on the issue.
It also recommended an annual debate in Germany's federal and 16 state parliaments on anti-Semitism and a broad social refusal to tolerate anti-Semitically inspired hostility towards Israel.
Berger said Germany should aggressively publish data on the rate at which anti-Semitic crimes are being committed.
Copyright DPA with Expatica
Subject: German news
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