2 Jewish Men Attacked In Berlin Following an attack on two Jewish men in Berlin, one Jewish leader in Germany is calling on men to not wear skullcaps in big cities there to avoid making them targets of violence.
NPR logo

2 Jewish Men Attacked In Berlin

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/605596990/605596994" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
2 Jewish Men Attacked In Berlin

2 Jewish Men Attacked In Berlin

2 Jewish Men Attacked In Berlin

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/605596990/605596994" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Following an attack on two Jewish men in Berlin, one Jewish leader in Germany is calling on men to not wear skullcaps in big cities there to avoid making them targets of violence.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Germany's Jews are posing a question they haven't had to ask in generations - is it safe to wear religious head coverings in Germany? A Berlin man was attacked last week while wearing the Jewish skullcap, also called a yarmulke or a kippah. Today Germans in multiple cities plan marches in solidarity against anti-Semitism. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: First, a warning. The recording of the attack you're about to hear is disturbing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADAM ARMOUSH: (Foreign language spoken).

NELSON: Adam Armoush warns a man who is rapidly approaching that he is filming him with his smartphone. That doesn't stop his assailant, who strikes the 21-year-old Berliner with a belt after calling him a Jew in Arabic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I called the police.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Foreign language spoken).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I called the police.

NELSON: A witness screams she is calling the police. Armoush then yells at his attacker, Jew or no Jew, you have to deal with it.

ARMOUSH: (Foreign language spoken).

NELSON: The interesting thing is that Armoush isn't Jewish. He told reporters he is an Israeli Arab who grew up in Haifa before coming to live in Berlin. A friend here described to Armoush how difficult life had become for Jews. So he and another friend decided to put on kippahs and walk around an upscale neighborhood here to see whether it was safe. The resulting attack that left Armoush with nasty bruises prompted a groundswell of condemnation, including from Chancellor Angela Merkel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: (Speaking German).

NELSON: "This is a quite horrifying incident, and we will react," she said, following a meeting with eastern German leaders last week.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MERKEL: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Merkel said there's been a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism, not only among Germans, but among the many Arabic-speaking asylum seekers who have sought refuge in Germany. Armoush's attacker is reported to be a 19-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker from Syria who turned himself in to police. Josef Schuster, who is president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told German public radio broadcaster RBB that he has in recent years warned Jews to be careful in Berlin and other German cities.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOSEF SCHUSTER: (Speaking German).

NELSON: He says while he prefers standing up to racism, he would advise individuals not to openly wear a kippah here, and instead opt for a baseball cap or other head covering. Nevertheless, many people, Jewish and otherwise, will likely put on the religious skullcap today as part of the Berlin Wears the Kippah campaign to protest against anti-Semitism. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.