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Berlin: Prosecution and Police to Follow New Guidelines in Cases of Antisemitic Crime

The Berlin Police Department and the city state’s prosecution are part of the fight against the rising antisemitism in the German capital. Police officers and other employees at both authorities are supposed to follow new Guidelines for the Prosecution of Antisemitic Crimes that were distributed internally.

Berlin, June 29th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — At the prosecution in Berlin, Claudia Vanoni is Commissioner for the Fight Against Antisemitism. Her colleague Wolfram Pemp has the same position at the Berlin Police Department. Considering the rise of antisemitism in Berlin and other parts of Germany, which was just documented yet again by the organization RIAS, their jobs could not be more important. Vanoni and Pemp just distributed new Guidelines for the Prosecution of Antisemitic Crimes to all prosecutors, officers and other employees at their authorities.

‘Phenomenal Domain’

In order to fight the reappearing hatred towards Jews, Germany appointed Felix Klein as national Commissioner for the Fight Against Antisemitism in January of 2018. By now, several federal states and authorities have their own appointees. “Berlin is particularly attractive as a city of diversity and freedom”, a statement by Claudia Vanoni and Wolfram Pemp said. “Fortunately, Jewish life has returned in the past years. The protection of Jews and Jewish culture is an integral part of our democratic communal life in Berlin.”

Antisemitic attacks against Jews and people believed to be Jews are always directed against the values of our free, democratic and open society”, the statement continues. Therefore, the state needed to fight antisemitism persistently and effectively. The law enforcement agencies were aware of their responsibility for preventing and averting danger in this “phenomenal domain.” The new Guidelines for the Prosecution of Antisemitic Crimes are supposed to help to conscientize and educate officers and other employees at both authorities.

‘Core Task’

“Antisemitic attacks are on the rise”, a joint statement by Berlin’s Prosecutor General Margarete Koppers and Police Chief Barbara Slowik read. “Fighting hatred towards Jews is a core task for that reason. There is no place for antisemitism in our society.”

The guidelines explain how antisemitic crimes can be identified and how to proceed as soon as there are indications for this kind of offense. For instance, police officers and prosecutors are supposed to contact the State Protection Office, an authority that deals with politically motivated crime as well as offenses which involve antisemitism, racism and similar forms of hatred. Those have an aggravating effect on penalties the perpetrators will have to expect.

Antisemitic Incidents

On Monday, RIAS had released its latest antisemitism report for Germany. Last year, as many as 1,909 antisemitic incidents were reported to the organization’s offices. While their number decreased by 5 percent in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, it increased by 30 percent in Bavaria, by 13 percent in Berlin and by 3 percent in Brandenburg. For the first time, RIAS included antisemitic incidents in the rest of Germany as well. There were 472 of them. Both individuals and institutions were affected.

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