Most of the hate crimes in Germany were perpetrated by far-right supporters.
The number of both anti-Semitic and xenophobic hate crimes grew by nearly 20% in Germany in 2018 compared with 2017, according to Interior Ministry data.
Germany saw a total of 1,799 anti-Semitic crimes in 2018, up 19.6% from 1,504 in 2017.
Xenophobic incidents (crimes committed against foreigners) totaled 7,701 in 2018, an increase of 19.7% compared with 6,434 cases in 2017.
The main anti-Semitic and xenophobic crimes were hate speech, offensive graffiti, and the displaying of banned symbols, most notably the Nazi swastika.
Nearly 90% of all anti-Semitic and xenophobic crimes in Germany were committed by far-
right perpetrators, the police data show.
“This is a development that we have to confront, especially in this country,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a news conference, alluding to Germany’s Nazi history.
“This is a job for the police as well as the whole society,” Seehofer added, as cited by DW.
At the same time, however, in 2018, the German authorities registered a drop in politically motivated crimes of 8.7%, down to 36,062.
While the number of politically motivated crimes decreased for the second year in a row, it is still the third highest since those types of crimes began to be monitored in 2001.
Most of the politically motivated crimes in Germany in 2018 were far-right crimes, a total of 20,431, a decrease of 0.4% compared with 2017.
The two decreases in question might be due to the fact that Germany saw fewer major political events in 2018 compared with 2017 when it had a campaign for a general election and a G-20 summit in Hamburg.
According to the Interior Ministry report, last year, Germany also experienced a sharp increase of 53.8% in the number of crimes based on “foreign ideological” grounds - 2,487 in 2018 compared with 1,617 in 2017.
The German Interior Ministry attributed the hike to a growing strife between Turkish and Kurdish groups connected with the conflict in Turkey and the ongoing Syrian Civil War.
Last year’s military intervention by Turkey in Afrin in Syria led to “a considerable increase in typical protest-related crimes” and to attacks on Turkish facilities in Germany, according to the report.
The Germany’s Interior Ministry said that German public perception of Kurds as victims in Turkey was growing.
However, it made it clear that the German authorities were still committed to terminating the activities of the banned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in Germany.
While the Ministry warned that Germany remained “a focus for Islamic terrorists and Islamic terrorism remains a large danger for internal security”, it also noted that the number of crimes deemed to be motivated by religious ideology dropped by 47% in 2018.
(Banner image: Video grab from DW)