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Friday, 7 January 2011

Leading rabbi in Berlin warns Jews to hide their identity as fears of neo-Nazi attacks rise

Jews living near Berlin are being warned to shed clothing that identifies their religion as fears of neo-Nazi attacks rise.

A leading rabbi in the German state of Brandenburg, made the plea, 65 years after the end of the Second World War and the Holocaust. He is urging Jews not to wear skullcaps, long coats or other “identifying symbols” of Judaism, unless they know self-defence.

Shaul Nekrich, the new chief rabbi of Brandenburg, said: “I think the state has a problem with anti-Semitism.

“I hear the stories from the ­communities. They are wary of being recognised as Jews on the streets. In the town of Bernau, the synagogue has been defaced with swastikas several times.

“As a Jew it is dangerous to wear things that identify you as such unless you are well versed in martial arts.”

He said that he had been accosted on a train in ­Brandenburg three years ago by drunks who threw his Hebrew prayer book to the ground.

Formerly from Russia, Rabbi Nekrich is responsible for teaching in an area where there are 1,300 Jews.

After reunification, Brandenburg became the centre of skinhead activity in Germany.

But it was thought that the problem was under control after the introduction of local initiatives to face down Hitler worshippers.

The Mirror