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German gov’t, newspaper at odds on number of synagogue attacks

BERLIN (JTA) — A German government report and an investigation by the main Jewish weekly in Germany differ on the number of reported attacks on synagogues there over the past five years.

According to an Interior Ministry report released last week, there have been 82 reported attacks on synagogues in Germany from 2008 to 2012. But the Juedische Allgemeine probe showed that several notable incidents were not included in the report.

The paper noted an attack on the Dresden synagogue in 2012, as well as the desecration of synagogue property in Regensburg and Wuppertal in the same year.

Most of the reported cases in the Interior Ministry report involved property damage and graffiti featuring banned Nazi slogans.

According to the report, which was requested by Left Party legislator and Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau, the main perpetrators are far-right extremists, who were involved in more than 90 percent of the incidents. Some cases also originated in Muslim circles.

The lowest number of reported incidents was in 2010, with nine cases. The peak over the past five years was in 2008, with 21 reported incidents. Most of the incidents occurred in the former West German states of North-Rhine Westfalia and Rheinland-Pfalz.

Pau told the Allgemeine that attacks on synagogues are the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to anti-Semitic crimes in Germany.

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