Shots were fired at the glass front door of the rabbi's house at the old synagogue in Essen. The crime is said to have taken place during the night. A video shows clues to a possible perpetrator. Nobody got hurt.
Four shots from a sharp weapon were found in the rabbi's house near the old synagogue in Essen. There is no danger, no one was injured, the police said. The building houses an institute for German-Jewish history. North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul spoke of an "attack".
According to a police spokesman, witnesses reported the bullet holes around 8:30 a.m. on Friday. It was initially unclear when the shots were fired. "We strongly believe it was sometime during the night when nobody was there," the spokesman said. There are video recordings from a camera filming the square, showing a person who is said to have committed the crime.
The police are looking for a male suspect, Interior Minister Reul said. "The attack on the old synagogue in Essen shocks me deeply," the CDU politician continued. "The existing video recordings are now being evaluated at full speed. The state security is involved." The Jewish community in Essen can "rely on us doing everything we can to identify the perpetrator as quickly as possible," said Reul.
According to the police spokesman, the shots hit a glass front door. The frame was damaged and there were shots through the pane. Based on the evidence, it is now clear that it was a live firearm.
According to a city spokeswoman, the rabbi's house is not used by the Jewish community. It is right next to the synagogue building. According to the city, the Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute for German-Jewish History with archive and library as well as rooms of the University of Duisburg-Essen are housed in the Rabbinerhaus. The Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute researches the history and culture of Jews in German-speaking countries.
Today the Old Synagogue is the House of Jewish Culture in Essen, a cultural institute in the city. The place of worship for the city's Jewish community is the new synagogue just outside the center. According to a city spokeswoman, the Old Synagogue has exhibitions and events on Jewish history. The religious community also meets there on special occasions, for example to commemorate the pogrom night of November 9, 1938. At that time, the old synagogue and the rabbi's house were set on fire and the interior destroyed. Due to an abstract danger, the police are always on site during the opening hours of the Old Synagogue - as is usual with objects with a Jewish connection.