(JTA) — Two Jews in Vienna were attacked with anti-Semitic insults, with one sprayed in the face with pepper spray, near a far-right gala.
The Jan. 30 attack took place on Karntner Street about 500 yards from where Austria’s FPO party was holding its annual ball at the former imperial palace of Hofburg, the news website diepresse.com reported Sunday.
Dozens were arrested in riots that erupted after thousands of people showed up to protest the event, which was attended by far-right supporters and politicians.
In the attack against the Jews, who were not named, five men shouted anti-Semitic insults including “f***ing Jews” and “Jewish pigs,” according to Julian Poschl, a freelance journalist who witnessed the incident. After the insults, one of the five men sprayed pepper spray in the face of one of the Jews.
The two men were not wearing clothing or symbols that identified them as being Jewish.
Austrian police told Die Presse they were investigating the incident, which the victims reported, but could not confirm the attack was anti-Semitic in nature.
“Whether there has been an anti-Semitic insult, I cannot say,” a police spokesman told Die Presse. “The perpetrators fled immediately after the attack; we could not ask the other side.”
The Jewish Community of Vienna has condemned the hosting of the FPO gala at the Hofburg Palace — a privately-owned complex with a commercial conference center that nonetheless houses some government entities. The community regards the political party as a racist entity.
The community’s president, Oskar Deutsch, called the hosting “shameful” in a statement sent out Sunday.