Anti-Semitic incidents doubled in Germany in 1994

BONN — The number of anti-Semitic offenses in Germany in 1994 was more than double the number the previous year, according to the annual report of the German Security Services.

In 1994, security authorities recorded 1,366 offenses of an anti-Semitic nature, said the report, which was released last week. The year before, 656 incidents were recorded.

The report stressed that the rise in numbers applied to what was called non-violent anti-Semitic activities, such as racist propaganda, anti-Semitic insults and property damage.

In contrast, anti-Semitic acts of violence dropped by 43 percent, from 72 cases in 1993 to 41 in 1994.

The report took special note of the firebombing of the synagogue in Lubeck on March 25, 1994. Another arson attempt at the same synagogue took place May 7 of this year, causing only marginal damage.

Despite the increase in anti-Semitic incidents, Manfred Kanther, German minister of the interior, told a news conference last week that violence against foreigners had declined last year by almost half.

Kanther said this was partially due to stricter immigration laws, which alleviated hatred against foreigners.

"History has taught us to be alert from the start, and not to wait with action until the anti-democratic elements grow and pose a real danger," he said.

Kanther said radical elements on the left were just as dangerous as those from the right.

Other prominent examples of anti-Semitic activities in 1994 cited by the report include the following:

*A band of skinheads on the grounds of the former Buchenwald concentration camp July 23 yelled out anti-Semitic slurs and caused damage to property, smashing windows in the camp's barracks. A local worker was threatened that she would be set on fire.

*At the memorial site of the Sachsenhausen camp, a band of neo-Nazis raised their arms in the traditional Nazi salute and demanded that the crematoriums be turned on again. A barrack in the same camp that had served as a Jewish museum was torched in September 1992. It reopened this year.

*At the Jewish cemetery of Neunkirchen in the Saarland, 27 tombstones were desecrated Sept. 18. The tombstones were covered with anti-Semitic slogans, such as "We will get you all" and "Those who buy from Jews are traitors."