Shots at the rabbi’s house in Essen: investigations are ongoing
In the horror of the shots fired at the rabbi’s house at the old synagogue in Essen, the news of two suspicious holes in the roof of the new synagogue burst at the weekend. What happened?
After the shots were fired at an outbuilding of the Old Synagogue in Essen, the police are still looking for the perpetrator. “The investigations are ongoing,” said a spokesman for the authorities on Sunday. The investigations also continued in the case of the two holes in the roof of the new synagogue discovered on Saturday. Police said the older damage could be bullet holes.
On the night of Friday, shots were fired at the former rabbi’s house at the old synagogue in the city center of Essen. The Old Synagogue belongs to the city and is no longer used by the Jewish community for services. An unknown person had fired at least three shots at a door, as can be seen on video recordings. Nobody got hurt. It is still not entirely certain that it is actually a man, said the police spokesman. This was not clearly visible on the recordings. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul spoke of an “attack” on Friday.
The new synagogue from 1959, which is used by the Jewish community for services, is about a kilometer away as the crow flies from the old synagogue from 1913. It is being examined whether there is a connection between the shots fired at the Old Synagogue and the damage to the New Synagogue.
After the shots were fired at the rabbi’s house, the police increased their presence at the building complex in the city center. “The protective measures have been increased at all Jewish institutions in Essen and Mülheim,” said the spokesman.
Search measures with sniffer dogs
On Sunday, the police temporarily blocked Autobahn 40 in the direction of Dortmund so that sniffer dogs could follow a track on the Autobahn. According to the spokesman, the specially trained so-called mantrailer dogs had already been led to the highway on Friday by scent traces. On Sunday, the dogs then led the officers across the autobahn behind the city limits of Essen and back down off the autobahn. The pursuit of the trail continued into the early evening. Whether this track came from the perpetrator is still open, said the spokesman.
No one was injured by the shots fired at the rabbi’s house. An institute for German-Jewish history is housed in the building hit. It borders directly on the Old Synagogue. It houses the “House of Jewish Culture” of the city of Essen.
Police are looking for witnesses
The police are still looking for witnesses who made observations around the Old Synagogue between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. on Friday night. According to the spokesman, the police assume that the crime was committed on Thursday evening between 10 p.m. and midnight.
The parliamentary groups of SPD and FDP requested a special session of the interior committee. The motion of the two opposition parties states that against the background of the worrying increase in anti-Semitic crimes, the state government should report on the status of the investigation and the known background of the crime.
In addition, the state government should provide information about the measures to protect Jewish institutions in NRW. “Finally, we also ask for information about the consequences the state government is drawing from the growing number of anti-Semitic attacks,” the joint application says. Committee chairwoman Angela Erwin (CDU) must decide whether and when the meeting will take place.
Mezuzah damaged at Berlin synagogue
Meanwhile, damage was discovered at a synagogue in Berlin on Saturday. The mezuzah – a wooden box with a document that is considered a talisman – was opened at the door of the rabbi who lives in the building and the document was stolen, the police said. A security officer from the Jewish community in Berlin therefore called the police early in the morning. The officials had already been alerted during the night because a passer-by had noticed a destroyed doorbell and rubbish in front of the front door of the house on Passauer Strasse. Police officers later found the Mezuzah in the rubbish, it was said. State security is investigating property damage and theft.