The RIAS annual report causes major concern

Synagoge Roonstraße, Köln

The local Research and Information Center on Antisemitism (RIAS) in North-Rhine-Westphalia presented its first annual report.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the local Research and Information Center on Antisemitism (RIAS) presented an annual report on antisemitic incidents in Germany’s largest federal state for the first time. According to the result, there were 264 reported anti-Jewish incidents. However, together with the unreported cases, the number is presumably significantly higher, reports the Jüdische Allgemeine.

According to RIAS NRW, hatred of Jews is a virulent phenomenon, and the research clearly shows that it is common in North-Rhine-Westphalia. In November last year, there was a series of attacks in the Ruhr region „in which Iranian government agencies were probably involved in a leading role.” There was also an arson attack on the cemetery building of the Cologne synagogue community.

Hatred of Jews in North-Rhine-Westphalia was directed at 50 per cent against individuals and 50 per cent against institutions. In most cases, antisemitic statements or actions occurred face to face, mainly in public spaces and educational institutions.

From the recorded cases, four involved extreme violence, five assaults, six threats, nine mass antisemitic letters, 60 gatherings of individuals with the same background, and 153 incidents of abusive behaviour. Derogatory statements about Jews or Judaism are everyday occurrences.

According to Jörg Rensmann, head of the reporting office, „antisemitism expresses itself in numerous forms and manifestations and is accompanied by a real danger and threat to those affected.”

Holocaust trivialisation and denial were documented, along with antisemitism related to anti-Israel sentiment. According to the report by RIAS NRW, the denial of the Holocaust and the crimes of National Socialism is the primary source of antisemitism.

„The number of 264 incidents published by RIAS NRW is alarmingly high and confirms the perception of the Jewish community that Jews are confronted with antisemitism almost every day,” explained Olga Rosow, Deputy Administrative Director and Head of the Social Department of the Jewish Community in Düsseldorf.