On the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, a deranged gunman in Germany tried to break into a synagogue during services on Wednesday. Failing to get in, the lone attacker killed a woman passing by and then attacked a kebab shop nearby and killed one of the customers there.
The locked gates of the synagogue prevented a much greater tragedy.
Stephan Balliet, 27, live streamed his wanton anti-Semitic attack on a video-gaming platform. Ironically, he didn’t kill any of the Jews observing Yom Kippur as he failed to break into the locked synagogue. Before the attack, Balliet broadcast an anti-Semitic manifesto.
“I think the Holocaust never happened,” he said on one of his videos. He also railed against feminism and illegal immigration, but he blamed all of these issues on Jews. “The root of all these problems is the Jew,” he said.
While denying the holocaust, he expressed the very sentiment that made the Holocaust possible!
The attack took place in Halle. Nearly 80 people were inside the synagogue observing Yom Kippur at the time.
“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman, said describing the chilling moments as the attack began. “The man looked like he was from the special forces … But our doors held.”
“We barricaded the doors from inside and waited for the police,” he said.
Had he succeeded to break in the death toll would’ve been a lot higher.
“We have seen a rise in anti-Semitism for years now, we see it across society. We see it on the right, on the left, in Islamism, and in mainstream society,” said Remko Leemhuis, acting director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin. “Right now it feels like it’s coming from everywhere.”
Anti-Semitic acts have been on the rise in Germany, and everywhere else. After the attack, community leaders expressed frustration that their warnings hadn’t been heeded. They criticized the lack of police protection at the Halle synagogue on Yom Kippur.
“We can’t deny that concern is spreading,” said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. “I think it’s very important that the authorities will now ensure that a Jewish person who is visiting a synagogue can be sure to leave the building unharmed.”