North Rhine-Westphalia: Shots in Essen: Rabbi's house and new synagogue damaged

Who shot at the rabbi's house at the Old Synagogue? Where did the damage to the roof of the new synagogue come from? State security is investigating these questions with the help of videos and witnesses.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Shots in Essen: Rabbi's house and new synagogue damaged

Who shot at the rabbi's house at the Old Synagogue? Where did the damage to the roof of the new synagogue come from? State security is investigating these questions with the help of videos and witnesses. The Attorney General assumes anti-Semitism as a motive.

Essen (dpa / lnw) - After the shots were fired at an adjoining building of the Old Synagogue in Essen, the public prosecutor's office in Düsseldorf assumes an "extremist and anti-Semitist motivated act". That said senior public prosecutor Holger Heming of the German Press Agency on Monday. There is sufficient initial suspicion that the Attorney General's Office, as the central office for the prosecution of terrorism, is now leading the investigation.

At the same time, the investigations of the state security of the Essen police continued. Among other things, witnesses would continue to be collected, said a police spokesman. In addition, damage to the metal roof of the new synagogue was discovered on Saturday. According to dpa information, these were created at least a month ago.

On the night of Friday, shots were fired at the former rabbi's house at the old synagogue in the city center of Essen. The Old Synagogue belongs to the city and is no longer used by the Jewish community for services. An unknown person had fired at least three shots at a door, as can be seen on video recordings. In both cases nobody was injured. Whether there is a connection between the events at the two synagogues is still completely unclear.

He was "shocked" by the news from Essen, said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday in a speech in the synagogue in Hanover. A synagogue was also damaged in Berlin over the weekend. "All of this hurts me deeply." Steinmeier called for "vigilance". In Germany, "anti-Semitism is once again being shown much more blatantly and openly," he warned. "First of all, we have to be vigilant. And we mustn't look the other way! We must not tolerate any anti-Semitism in Germany!"

The anti-Semitism commissioner for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, was also concerned. "I hope that the investigations that have been initiated and the images that have been published will help to quickly clarify the perpetrators and their background," said the former federal justice minister on Monday when asked by dpa. The attack shows: "As a society as a whole, we have to fight anti-Semitism. It's not the job of the Jews. We want Jewish life in Germany to be an indispensable part of our society. We have to protect it."

The topic of anti-Semitism is to be on the agenda next Wednesday (10 a.m.) in a plenary debate in the state parliament. The government factions of the CDU and Greens, together with the opposition from the SPD and FDP, have applied for a current hour.

On Friday, the interior committee is to meet for a special session initiated by the SPD and FDP. Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) is to report the current status of the investigation there. The current hour in the plenary session is more general. The joint motion of the parliamentary groups states: Because of the shots in Essen, one must deal with the topic of anti-Semitism. Because it is a "political and societal task to ensure that Jews can live in Germany without fear."

On Sunday evening, the police published photos of a possible male witness. They are looking for him. The individual could potentially provide pertinent information given the proximity in time and space to the crime scene. Further video recordings of the Old Synagogue were secured and evaluated.

The investigations also continued in the case of the two holes discovered in the roof of the new synagogue. Police said the older damage could be bullet holes. According to dpa information, traces of rust were discovered around the holes. Therefore, it is assumed that they are already at least four weeks old. The new synagogue from 1959 is used by the Jewish community for services. It is about a kilometer away as the crow flies from the Old Synagogue from 1913.

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