Germany’s Jewish community reacted with dismay over the weekend as hundreds of far-right demonstrators attempted to storm the historic building in Berlin that houses the country’s federal parliament.
As nearly 40,000 activists descended on the German capital on Saturday for a protest that decried coronavirus restrictions as a globalist plot, violence broke out at several junctures during the demonstration, with police making over 300 arrests.
Some demonstrators wore yellow Star of David symbols marked with the word “Corona” — a deliberate appropriation of the Nazi persecution of the Jews that has been widely denounced as antisemitic.
Toward the end of the day, hundreds of right-wing extremists charged onto the steps of the Reichstag, where the German parliament, the Bundestag, hold its sessions. Many brandished the discarded red, white and black flag of Imperial Germany — a symbol favored by the far right because of post-war Germany’s ban on the swastika and other Nazi symbols.
“We are dismayed and deeply concerned about yesterday’s images in front of the Reichstag building,” the Central Council of Jews in Germany declared on Twitter, in a post that included the hashtag “#Nazisraus” — “Nazis Out.”
Felix Klein — the German federal government’s antisemitism commissioner — asserted that the far-right extremists had crossed a “red line” in their display at the Reichstag building.
The imperial flags evoked “the worst memories,” Klein said.