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Free University of Berlin: Hardened fronts

Photo: Schöning / IMAGO

After the allegedly anti-Semitic attack on the Jewish student Lahav Shapira, the 30-year-old spoke out about the case - and made serious allegations against the Free University of Berlin.

“After the attack, I only received a single email from the university,” he tells Die Welt. 

He had to contact the university from the hospital while he "couldn't speak properly" to postpone an exam so that it would not be counted as a failed attempt.

“I would have liked more support,” says Shapira.

Were there any failures on the part of the university management?

The teaching student also criticizes that the university management has given anti-Israel groups “far too much leeway”.

»Jewish fellow students and I had asked the FU executive board long before the attack on me to at least observe these groups.

During a conversation with the executive committee, we were promised solutions, then we were ignored," he said.

Instead of doing something themselves, the management tried to hand over responsibility to Shapira and his colleagues.

»We were supposed to forward announcements of anti-Israel demonstrations and were encouraged to remove posters or graffiti ourselves.

We're being sent ahead because the university obviously doesn't dare to take care of it."

"I was attacked because I support Israel's right to exist"

Shapira was hospitalized in early February with broken bones in his face.

A 23-year-old presumably pro-Palestinian fellow student is said to have beaten him until he was hospitalized in the nightlife district in Berlin-Mitte.

According to the spokesman, the public prosecutor's office is investigating the student at the Free University of Berlin (FU) for dangerous bodily harm.

Shapira now told the "Welt": "I was attacked because I stand for Israel's right to exist and do not want Israel to be wiped out." He was in the hospital for four nights after the attack, said Shapira.

»For the first week and a half it was difficult for me to breathe because I had stitches in my mouth, under my eye and in my nose.

My face is still swollen, nose is still numb.”

After the crime, FU President Günter Ziegler expressed his horror and condemned it.

»Our condolences go out to the victim and his relatives.

We wish him a speedy and complete recovery,” Ziegler said, according to the statement.

Unrestricted solidarity applies to all victims of anti-Semitic hostility and violence.

He told SPIEGEL that the university takes “every anti-Semitic incident seriously” and announced “constructive discussions.”