Ulm synagogue, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
(photo credit: ANDREAS F. BORCHERT)
A police spokesman for the city of Ulm said on Wednesday that the police are conducting a wide-ranging investigation into three attacks on the city's synagogue since late August and antisemitism may be the motive for the crimes.
Uwe Krause, the police spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post that the authorities "can't rule out" antisemitism as the reason for the attacks on the synagogue, causing thousand of dollars in damage to the building's structure. Krause said shortly after the first attack in late August, the state's intelligence officials took command of the investigation.
After the Post reported early Tuesday morning
on a report in the Augsburger Allgemeine
paper stating “The authorities have at this time no indication of an antisemitic background” to the attacks, the German wire service dpa
reported that the Ulm police included Jew-hatred as a possibility for the attack.
Krause told the Post
that Ulm has a large "Salafist scene." Sunni Salafists are radical Islamists who are widely known for their hardcore hatred of Jews and Israel. "The investigation was launched into all directions from the beginning," said Krause. He said security was increased in front of the synagogue after the first attack. Krause said the city does not have the resources to provide 24 hour security patrols for the synagogue. When asked about the police reversing its position on antisemitism as a motivating factor, Krause said the current view does not contradict the Augsburger Allgemeine
paper's early September report. He added that police said from the start that "we are excluding" no background, which includes antisemitism, as the cause for the attacks on the synagogue.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the international human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center had sharply criticized the Ulm authorities in the Post
article prior to German media reports on Tuesday and Wednesday. Cooper said the city leaders were in a state of denial about antisemitism. Ulm's government— the birthplace of Albert Einstein— subsidizes a local educational center that promotes BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) activities targeting the Jewish state .
On September 4, a man kicked a hole in the wall of the Ulm synagogue, causing between $3,586 and $4,782 in damages. The suspect, who was with six young men and has not been caught, smashed his foot against the synagogue earlier in the night and returned later for a second attack that severely damaged the wall.
On August 26, a man demolished the facade of a synagogue wall with a metal post. The police believe the same man conducted both the August and September attacks. The police posted photographs of the man who has a full beard.