A 26-year-old man has been seriously wounded after being attacked outside a synagogue in the northern German city of Hamburg, a police spokesperson said on Sunday the 29-year-old perpetrator struck his victim, who is expected to survive on the head with a shovel.
The victim was given first aid at the scene by passers-by, then taken to a hospital with wounds that were described as “significant” but not life-threatening. German police arrested the attacker, and a police spokesman said he was accused of causing grievous bodily harm. The attacker seemed to have acted alone so there was no further threat.
The motive was unclear, the police spokesman said, but sources close to the investigation told the DPA news agency the attacker was wearing military-style camouflage clothing and had a piece of paper with a swastika in his trouser pocket. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported the victim was a Jewish student, according to several German media outlets, those inside the synagogue were taken to safety, they were celebrating the Sukkot holiday at the time.
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas denounced the attack as anti-Semitic, this is not an isolated incident, this is disgusting anti-Semitism and we must all oppose it! Maas said in a tweet. The assault in Hamburg revived memories of the attack on a synagogue in the city of Halle almost a year ago, in that case, the attacker made a failed attempt to enter the synagogue by force as a full congregation marked the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur and subsequently shot dead two people nearby, several people were wounded.
Germany has recently seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the country, most recently at protests against coronavirus restrictions, which have attracted support from far-right sympathizers.