Suspected Far-Right Arson at Jewish-Owned Bar Investigated by Berlin Police

August 20, 2020

Berlin police are investigating a recent arson attack at an Israeli-owned bar that has been targeted with anti-Semitic harassment several times in the past, the Times of Israel reported.

The arson occurred early in the morning on Friday, August 14th. Neighbors called the fire department and reported that they had smelled smoke at the “Morgen Wird Besser” (“Tomorrow will be better”) bar. No one was hurt in the fire.

A spokesperson for a German anti-Semitism watchdog, the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism Berlin (RIAS), told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by e-mail that the investigation found graffiti inside the bar after the fire. The graffiti included a Star of David and the number 28.

The number 28 is a Neo-Nazi symbol that represents the second and eighth letters of the alphabet, which stand for the “Blood & Honour” slogan of the Hitler Youth during the Third Reich. The RIAS spokesperson said, “The owner is a Jewish Israeli who has been the target of anti-Semitic hostilities by local right-wing extremists in the past.”

The Lichtenberg Anti-Fascist Network organized a solidarity rally in response to the arson attack. At the rally, the owner of the bar, who has not been named, said he would not close his business despite the attack and past threats. According to local radio reports, about 200 people attended the rally against anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.

A skinhead who frequented the bar once said to the owner, “You Jews are like cockroaches.” Anti-foreigner stickers have been found plastered inside the bar in the past. Several days before the fire, the bar received an intimidating phone call in which the caller allegedly said, “I want you gone.”

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement has previously reported on anti-Semitic harassment directed towards Jewish business owners in Berlin. Last year, restaurateur Yorai Feinberg shared his story of fighting off anti-Semitic harassment at his Berlin restaurant.

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