The Berlin Police Headquarters issued an apology on Monday after two capital officers were photographed doing push-ups on the concrete block monument of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.
Berlin police chief Barbara Selwick has vowed to further investigate the situation, telling the German outlet BZ, which originally broke the story, that “the conduct of our colleagues does not honor the purpose for which this monument was erected and harms the memory of those who were murdered,” adding that the memorial is “not a playground.”
Uwe Neumärker, Director of the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (the formal name of Berlin’s Holocaust memorial), told BZ that “cooperation with the Berlin police runs smoothly... I am all the more stunned. The Holocaust and the crimes of [the] National Socialism [Party] should be a focus of the training of civil servants."
The incident aligns with the worrying rise of antisemitism in Germany. The country had 2,032 documented antisemitic incidents in 2019, according to government figures, which was the highest tally since 2001 and a 13% increase over 2018. The government has also been accused of under-reporting Germany's acts of antisemitism to avoid claims of anti-Islamic sentiment.
The Holocaust Memorial near the Berlin Parliament was inaugurated in 2005 and consists of 2,700 concrete blocks. Accessible to the public, visitors are asked to refrain from performing offensive behaviors, such as running or jumping from one concrete block to another, though acts of indecency have been reported in the past.