On the 70th anniversary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned attacks on Jewish life.

"It is a shame and I am deeply ashamed of the expression of racism and anti-Semitism in our country in these times," said the CDU politician.

Racism and anti-Semitism have never disappeared.

"But for some time now they have been more visible and uninhibited," said Merkel.

Insults, threats or conspiracy theories were openly directed against Jewish citizens.

"In the social media, many statements are almost oozing with hatred and agitation. We must never be silent about this."

Words could quickly turn into actions, as the attack on the synagogue in Halle last year showed in a "particularly terrible way".

"We can look forward to a flourishing Jewish life"

"Anti-Semitism is an attack on people," said Merkel.

The attack is directed against the dignity of the individual.

This must be fought resolutely, said the Chancellor.

Upbringing and education, like the willingness to enter into dialogue, are the most important means of preventing prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism.

"But where education and clarification are not enough, the rule of law with all the consistency of our criminal law is required."

This must also be very clear, said Merkel.

According to Merkel, many survivors of the Shoah could not have imagined a life in Germany.

The Central Council was initially set up as a provisional arrangement to help Jews emigrate.

Looking at the current situation, Merkel said: "We can look forward to a flourishing Jewish life."

At the same time, many Jews in Germany no longer felt safe and not respected.

Central Council President Schuster said in the courtyard of the New Synagogue that the founders of the Central Council had planted the seeds for Jewish life in Germany.

Their "leap of faith" was, however, "repeatedly deeply shaken" in view of the sometimes fatal attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions.

Discomfort in the Jewish community

"The majority of the population is behind us," said Schuster.

In the Jewish community, however, there is a feeling of discomfort that leads to people preferring to wear a chain with the Star of David under their sweater.

Quietly, the question arises of how safely Jews could live in Germany.

Schuster recalled that there were over 2,000 anti-Semitic crimes in 2019 - a sad record.

He also denounced conspiracy myths that were also directed against Jews.

"The Nazi ideas have still not disappeared."

The Central Council of Jews in Germany was founded on July 19, 1950 in Frankfurt am Main.

As an umbrella organization, it represents the political and social interests of 23 regional associations and 105 Jewish communities with around 100,000 members.