German Jewish leader deters anti-Semitic attack with gun

A leading member of Germany’s Jewish community had to point to a gun he was carrying to ward off a young man shouting anti-Semetic abuse, the latest in a string of racist incidents in Berlin that has shocked Jews and city authorities.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany said its general secretary, Michael Kramer, had endured a barrage of threatening insults from the man after leaving a Berlin synagogue with his two daughters on Wednesday.

“The man threatened us and made clear he would have lashed out if the children had not been there,” the council quoted Kramer, 44, as saying on its website.

Kramer then pointed to a gun he is allowed to carry for his personal protection to deter the man from attacking him.

Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper carried a photograph of the young man that Kramer himself had taken at the time with his mobile phone. The man, with a partially shaven head, has an arm raised towards the phone as though about to push Kramer.

Bild quoted the man as having said to Kramer: “What are you doing here? Go back to where you came from.”

Both Kramer and his adversary are pressing charges against each other, German media said.

Last month, one of the first rabbis ordained in Germany since the Holocaust, Daniel Alter, was beaten up on a Berlin street in front of his young daughter by four attackers, prompting a seminary to advise its students to avoid wearing skullcaps in public.

Germany’s official Jewish population, now at around 120,000, has grown more than 10-fold in the last 20 years, thanks largely to an influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union, but anti-Semitic attacks are commonplace and policemen guard synagogues around the clock.