Against the background of growing antisemitism, senior German government official Felix Klein has warned Jews not to wear their yarmulkes in certain places in Germany.
In light of the growing antisemitism across Europe and particularly in Germany, Klein, who serves as the government’s director against antisemitism felt, the time had come to caution Jews about wearing the skullcaps that invite antisemitic hate crimes and violence.
“Unfortunately, my opinion has changed compared to what it used to be,” he said in an interview published Saturday in the German newspaper Funke. “I cannot recommend that Jews wear the skullcap at all times and anywhere in Germany.” Klein did not specify which places or times could be dangerous.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann rejected Klein’s comments. “Everyone can and should wear a skullcap whenever he wants and it does not matter where or when,” he said.
At the same time, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog joined the condemnation: “It is inconceivable that 74 years after the end of World War II, Jews in Germany will not be able to wear a yarmulke because of fear for their lives.”
Last year, the head of the Central Council of German Jews, Yosef Schuster, called on the Jewish public not to wear skullcaps. “In principle it is correct to wear a skullcap, but it is preferable to avoid wearing skullcaps in large cities in Germany. I recommend wearing a hat or other head covering,” he said. Schuster’s remarks came in response to an antisemitic attack in Berlin in which a Muslim man attacked two Jewish youths after he noticed that they wore a yarmulke. The incident was documented by one of the youths who filmed a video on his phone showing the Muslim beating the young Jewish boy with his belt while cursing him in Arabic.