Anti-Semitic crime in Germany hits highest level in nearly two decades

Anti-Semitic crime in Germany hits highest level in nearly two decades
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Germany's interior secretary on Wednesday said anti-Semitic crimes in the country are increasing and reached their highest levels in 2019 since the country began recording them in 2001. 

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer called the rise in anti-Semitic crimes a "great concern," according to a report by ABC.

Data collected by the government shows that politically-motivated crimes overall were up 14.2 percent last year compared to data from 2018, which is the second-highest level on record.

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Crimes committed by the extreme left increased 23.7 percent to 9,849 cases, but the extreme right did the most politically motivated crimes, totaling 22,342 cases and an increase of 9.4 percent last year.

"The largest threat, as in the past, is the threat from the right," Seehofer said. "Extreme-right politically motivated cases make up more than half of all of such recorded crimes — it is an order of magnitude that causes us concern, great concern."

Anti-Semitic crimes were reportedly up 13 percent last year to 2,032 cases, with more than 93 percent of perpetrators associated with the far right. Crimes against Muslims rose 4.4 percent to 950 cases, and over 90 percent of those perpetrators also had extreme right ties.

Seehofer said far-right extremists left a "trail of blood" throughout Germany in more recent years, referencing the synagogue attack in Halle last year that resulted in two people killed in the street, along with a more recent attack in February which ended in nine people of foreign backgrounds killed in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau.

He also said the country's domestic intelligence last year increased surveillance of the Alternative for Germany party, focusing attention on its youth arm along with a faction known as "The Wing," which has a history of downplaying the country's Nazi past, according to the report.

Germany's intelligence is also closely monitoring followers of the Reich Citizens movement, which rejects current German state order and has an overlap with right-wing extremist groups, Seehofer said.

On Wednesday, authorities raided over two dozen homes with ties to 31 suspected members of the movement, who are believed to be involved with forged licenses, citizen certificates and passports, according to prosecutors in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe.

Seehofer said officials had been revoking firearm permits from Reich Citizens since 2016, revoking a total of 790 in the past four years, including 380 last year.