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Incidents of anti-Semitism in Luxembourg jumped last year

Incidents of anti-Semitism in Luxembourg jumped last year

2 min. 27.06.2022 From our online archive
Number of reports received annually by RIAL charity has almost doubled since 2019, with pandemic and Ukraine war cited as factors for spike
The synagogue in Esch-sur-Alzette
The synagogue in Esch-sur-Alzette
Photo credit: Tania Bettega

By Cliona Hickey and Elena Schmitz

There was an increase in reports of hate crimes targeting Jews in Luxembourg last year, a charity which works to combat anti-Semitism has said, prompted by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

There were 80 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2021 by the charity Research and Information on Anti-Semitism in Luxembourg (RIAL), up from 64 the previous year. Cases have almost doubled since 2019, when there were 47 incidents, and there have been 30 reports received this year to date, RIAL said.

Anti-Semitic incidents in the past year have included harassment, damage to Jewish graves and online abuse, according to RIAL.

The pandemic, which saw an increase in conspiracy theories and some individuals compare the government's CovidCheck policy to the Nazi Holocaust, was cited as a factor in the rising number of cases along with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. President Putin has attempted to justify his war by claiming Russia is liberating Ukraine from Nazis, even though Ukrainian leader Zelensky is Jewish and far-right nationalist groups have little influence in the country.

Luxembourg is planning to hand out tougher punishments for crimes in which race, religion or sexual orientation played a role, Justice Minister Sam Tanson said last week, after the EU threatened legal action and the UN criticised the Grand Duchy for its current practices.  

The new legislation will assist prosecutors pursuing anti-semitic crimes. The exact number of attacks and offences against Jews in Luxembourg is unknown, ministers said last year, given that such incidents are not separately registered - despite rising cases in neighbouring France and Germany.  

A national strategy to tackle anti-semitism formed part of an agreement signed in January 2021 between Luxembourg’s government and the Jewish community, under which the state said it would pay €1 million to compensate Holocaust survivors and establish a memorial at the site of a former Nazi internment camp.

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