A Jewish student has sustained severe head injury after being attacked by a man wielding a shovel in Germany.
The 26-year-old victim was about to enter the synagogue grounds in the northern city of Hamburg on Sunday when he was hit in the head, police said. He was taken to the hospital with severe head injuries.
The suspected attacker, a 29-year-old German man of Kazakh origin wearing military style clothes, was arrested after the attack. He had on him a folding spade as well as a hand-drawn swastika.
Police said the suspect was in a confused state when he was detained, reportedly by officers guarding the synagogue.
“The current assessment of the situation suggests this is an anti-Semitic motivated attack,” a statement from police and prosecutors said.
They added that the case was being treated as “attempted murder with grievous bodily harm”.
Germany’s justice minister on Monday called the attack “a horrible act of violence.”
“The hatred against Jews is a disgrace for our country,” Christine Lambrecht said in a statement. “We have to further confront agitation against Jews and be there more for the victims of hatred and violence.”
Anti-Semitic crimes have increased in Germany in recent years. Last year, more than 2,032 anti-Semitic offences were recorded.
The German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner urged Jews to avoid wearing skullcaps in public last year.
This most recent attack comes a year after a deadly shooting outside the Halle synagogue where a neo-Nazi, armed with guns and explosives, tried to force his way into a synagogue to shoot Jewish worshippers. Thankfully he was prevented from entering the synagogue, but sadly shot dead a woman who was passing by before he shot and killed someone in a Turkish kebab restaurant down the road from the synagogue before being arrested.
A Hamburg rabbi said the community, which had come together Sunday to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, was “very, very shocked” by the assault.
“The question is: What have we not learned since Halle?” Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky said.
“This is not an isolated case — this is repugnant anti-Semitism and we must all stand up against it,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted Sunday night.