German Police Conduct Hate Speech Raids On Homes

German police on Tuesday raided several Bavarian homes targeting 17 people accused of antisemitic hate speech and online threats targeting Jews.

Cellphones and laptops were confiscated from 15 men and two women aged 18 to 62, according to Bavarian criminal police. Multiple suspects were questioned over celebrations of the massacre of over 1,400 Israeli citizens by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.

German news agency dpa reported many used symbols of banned terrorist groups online. Nine of the accused lived in the Bavarian capital of Munich, while others were located in other towns and counties. 

A suspect was accused of using WhatsApp’s educational class chat to post a “Gas the Jews” sticker. National media reported a German-Turkish dual citizen allegedly wrote online that the “Jewish sons” should be “exterminated.”

Bavarian Police Commissioner Michael Weinzierl’s job is to combat “hate crimes.” He said “Unfortunately, antisemitism has an impact on the daily lives of many Jews in Germany.”

He called it “important” to show solidarity with the state’s Jewish population, “that we protect them here and also protect them from hostility.”  

In the aftermath of Oct. 7, Germany saw a dramatic rise in antisemitism from sectors of its population with Middle Eastern roots. This led to government leaders denouncing such actions that rose simultaneously with the Israel-Hamas war.

Bavaria alone saw 148 antisemitic incidents in the month following the Hamas terror attacks, a staggering 285% increase from the same period in 2022. 

Josef Schuster is the president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany. He said the Jewish population in the nation has undergone “psychological terror” since the Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli citizens.

He warned that Germany “must now take a clear stance. For too long, we have allowed antisemitism to penetrate into the heart of our society via extreme right-wing circles, radical left-wing demonization of Israel or Islamist fanatics.”

The nation has perhaps the strictest rules of any advanced country against “hate speech.” It is not uncommon for law enforcement to conduct raids over the use of swastikas or other banned symbols, and Holocaust denial is illegal.