Extremism: right-wing extremism: trial of attack on synagogue

Extremism: right-wing extremism: trial of attack on synagogue

On New Year’s Eve 2022, a young man wants to set fire to a synagogue in Upper Franconia. With luck it doesn’t come to that. In court, the accused shows remorse – and a clear attitude.

When the accused describes the course of New Year’s Eve 2022, he tells of a drive hunt in the Forchheim district, how he starts drinking alcohol at noon and finally celebrates the new year in an inn opposite the synagogue in Ermreuth. But when the other revelers move on around midnight, the 22-year-old doesn’t go with them. He goes to the synagogue and tries to set the building on fire with fireworks.

In the trial before the district court in Bamberg, the young man no longer wants to know what brought him to this. He admits the crime, even if he can’t remember everything because of his alcohol consumption. What is in the indictment is correct, explains his defense attorney. He deeply regrets the act and would like to apologize to the Jewish community, his parents and the mayor of the community.

Photo with Hitler salute

At the Munich prosecutor’s office, the motive is clear: the defendant’s “consolidated anti-Jewish and right-wing extremist mentality”. When asked, the man admits that a radical right-wing attitude emerged in him that evening. Investigators found numerous pictures, texts and pieces of music with right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic content on his cell phone. In one photo, the defendant stands in front of a Reich flag and shows the Hitler salute.

A surveillance camera recorded the whole act. When the defendant smashed a window in the synagogue, he tried several times in vain to set off fireworks and throw them into the building. When that failed, he finally went on. According to the investigation, the fireworks would have been likely to cause a fire. No one was in the building on the night of the crime. The Attorney General accuses him of attempted serious arson and damaging property.

The incident caused dismay not only in Ermreuth, a district of Neunkirchen am Brand in Upper Franconia. Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) visited the community and described the attempted arson as an “attack on our democracy”.

The verdict is expected on Friday

Ermreuth Synagogue was built in 1822. After the Second World War, it initially went to the Raiffeisen cooperative and was used as a warehouse. After renovation work, the former synagogue reopened in 1994 and, according to the Attorney General’s Office, was also consecrated for religious practice. Today the synagogue is a place of encounter and culture. It is an example of rural Judaism, which shaped many Franconian villages in past centuries.

The man’s defense attorney explained in court that he had obtained information about the damage from the Jewish community in Ermreuth, and that the accused’s parents had then transferred around 1,900 euros to the community. The 22-year-old was arrested a few days after the crime and has been in custody ever since. He is already preparing for more time in prison. After a conviction, he wanted to get help and continue talks with representatives of the Bavarian information center against extremism in Nuremberg. An expert assesses the attitude of the man in the process. A verdict is expected this Friday.

Source: Stern

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