A broken window interrupted the final moments of Yom Kippur services in Hannover, Germany, unsettling a Jewish community on edge because of prior attacks during the holiday.
“I don’t want to play down what happened, but such criminal acts were often our historical companions. We will not be intimidated and will continue to build: our communities, our families, and Judaism in Germany.”Rabbi Shlomo Afansev
It was unclear late Wednesday exactly what had happened at the Orthodox synagogue in the northern German city, officials there said. Police are investigating and had learned that there are no video cameras in the vicinity, according to local media reports. No one was injured in the incident.
The chair of the synagogue said he believed someone had entered the synagogue grounds and thrown an object through the window. The synagogue’s rabbi said he believed that the broken window represented an assault on his community.
“I don’t want to play down what happened, but such criminal acts were often our historical companions,” Rabbi Shlomo Afanasev wrote on Twitter, where he posted videos of the broken window. “We will not be intimidated and will continue to build: our communities, our families, and Judaism in Germany.”
The incident comes three years after an attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, during Yom Kippur perpetrated by a neo-Nazi extremist who is now serving a life sentence. Last year, German police said they foiled a Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Hagen planned by a family with ties to Islamic terrorism.
Rabbi Rebecca Blady, who was present during the attack in Halle and directs Hillel in Germany from Berlin, tweeted that she had put off signing online after Yom Kippur because she was afraid of what she would learn.
“Yom Kippur is never quiet here. I delayed returning to my devices and accounts til hours after the fast ended. To hold the high that I was blessed to have in Berlin today. Because somehow, in Germany, that high can’t last. Schade,” Blady wrote, using the German word meaning “pity.”
Local investigation in Germany
German officials say they want a full explanation of the incident in Hannover. “If it is confirmed that the window was smashed, this is not mere property damage,” Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of Lower Saxony, Hannover’s region, said in a statement. “Any form of violence against Jewish life is an attack on our free, open and solidary society.”
The German government reported a 29% increase in antisemitic incidents between 2021 and 2022, with most of the incidents emanating from the country’s right wing and most relating to online activity.