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tv   Interview - Wenzel Michalski He was taunted as a Jew.  Deutsche Welle  November 19, 2017 5:02am-5:16am CET

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elling the australian group to global start of. what drives the economy. to see a car drive. made in germany always has its finger on the pulse. of the market the manager. told me spoke to. a german. song dully. today i'll be talking with events head of the german division of the energy. about the increase in anti semitism in germany his own family has had
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a bitter experience welcome to the t.w. interview mr mccarthy. mr mccarthy you felt forced to take your son out of a well regarded school and. he was reviled as a jew. friends found out he was jewish they said we can't play with you anymore. then he was increasingly hit and kicked. his hat was knocked off his head. never let up and it culminated in very hard to fester he still has the remains of a huge bruise on his back. and the climax that led us to take him out of the school was a mock execution with a very real looking replica of. that he was strangled in till he became unconscious . how did this bullying start somewhere of. you know. he never said he was jewish until one day in ethics class the teacher
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said we're going to learn about the world's major religions. which houses of worship do you know about the people church mosque. and he said synagogue. and the teacher said oh how do you know about senate are you a jew and he said yes that's when the anti semitic attacks began. that's when this bullying was going on long before the pistol incident you contacted the school administration how did they react. well on the very first day when this began when the children said we won't play with you anymore we went to the administration and the teachers and said we urgently need to do something. we have to speak with the children. but the administration wasn't interested at all.
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right from the beginning the social worker employed at the school didn't want to hear anything about it. on the contrary she accused my wife of being pushy and wanting to overpower her for the sake of it. she said just let it be. the school is a member of the school against racism network or at least some courageous parents or other pupils who stood by you. there were individuals parents and individual schoolmates especially from this class. but they were powerless in the face of this ever increasing anti-semitic bullying. this school against racism turned out to be a hollow slogan but the school still boasts about it even though my son says the school playgrounds are full of racism against kurds against africans and of course against jews. one might think that more than seventy years after the holocaust what
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happened to your son is an extreme but isolated case. what is your experience been with anti-semitism in germany in your work for human rights. well i wouldn't have thought that this was possible. but when it happened and we finally went public with it to exert pressure to change it and to start this debate . we learned that there are many many such cases not just in berlin but also in frankfurt munich everywhere. and some people came to us and said that happened to us to. what they were afraid to go public with it for various reasons. and rights watch have spent years researching hate crimes and right wing radicalism in germany and we published reports on a. we've gone to the police and the courts so.
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we've received a lot of encouragement from the police academies about the whole complex of problems. but it appears to have had no effect. but that in fact with the growth of the party and of right wing populism it seems to have become socially acceptable to say things that people didn't used to say. maybe one side of the growth of right wing populism in germany and there has been an increase in the number of associated crimes and misdemeanors the ministry of the interior recorded six hundred eighty one such crimes in the first half of twenty seventeen substantially more than in twenty sixteen the perpetrators so far have mostly been right wing extremists the large number of immigrants from muslim countries where the culture and education are hostile to jews influence this
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development. i don't know whether it has an influence on this statistic. but it is obvious that it contributes to a general ongoing increase in anti semitism. when people come here from countries where they are taught right from kindergarten the jews are bad and where jew hatred is official policy and then of course they bring their anti semitism with. us this. is the challenge to our society is to deal with that and to talk with and educate these are mostly young. and that requires action from the teachers. afforded but there is none of. your son with muslims. they quickly suspended from school after these incidents. for. we were told that it is easy to suspend. or to expel them from
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school. take a long time and then didn't want to do it. the one pupil who threatened him with the pistol was indeed expelled but the others are still running around there and enjoying their happy school life so to speak. the school director went on to admit in interviews that he should have acted sooner. he regretted what. is nothing but it's still a mystery to me why he didn't intervene immediately get tough and set boundaries. because as it was there was nothing preventing any kind of attack and the school tolerated or ignored it. jews are increasing the number of desecrations increasing in berlin some of the
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stumbling stones the bronze plaques in memory of murdered jews have been torn out of the pavement. what do you have to say about this change of climate would you advise jews to appear in public with a star of david or a keeper. but no it's not a good idea if you don't feel that your faith requires you to wear one i'd say don't do my son wanted to wear a star of david around his neck. i said don't. it's dangerous to provoke attacks. right in front of the school my son went to a few years ago a rabbi was beaten up in front of his little daughter. he was wearing a kippah. so it's becoming more and more dangerous on the streets to wear visible signs that you were jewish that. didn't used to be a problem for families. clearly you are not religious and we don't walk around with
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a kept our go around saying we're jews so you wouldn't know it was all the more surprising that this happened to my son. tough. your son has transferred to another school his experience than. the us is a new school is very good it's a small international school with highly dedicated international teachers. things like that don't happen at all because as soon as the people goes too far the teachers talk openly with the parents and the children. they do what the other school should have done. and. so we considered sending him to a jewish high school but we didn't want him to grow up in an exclusively jewish environment just to escape this terrible experience. i was of. the city so we decided on this other school and it's been good. but it's
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regrettable that it was the victim who had to disappear from the earlier school. while the others continue to enjoy its advantages. it should have been the other way around. this is the development in germany as you illustrate with your own experience what do you as a representative of human rights watch in germany expect from politics and the german government. what should be done to counter these growing anti semitism. the teachers need to be trained. the teachers have to be persuaded to take their profession seriously enough to intervene against these anti-semitic incidents. but they can also be anti kurdish or anti homosexuals. and we have found out that things are flaring up in german schools. and this fear is very
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aggressive and it seems the teachers don't know how to deal with it. and so we call on politics to train the teachers to offer the assistance needed and also that people talk to each other and. with the schools talk with the parents and stop ducking away with excuses like oh you know you can't talk with these people or muslims or stop or. doesn't that's what the school authority said when we said you need to talk with the parents of the school administrator said that's useless. i mean mr makovsky we always conclude our interview with three incomplete sentences that we ask you to finish. this. despite anti-semitic experiences in germany my positive experience is. the solidarity of my colleagues and of people i know. but also of many people i don't
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know who have sent me handwritten letters telling me how shocked they were. and that they support us it's like. that's for me and my family leaving germany is. so it's only out of the question. we have to continue struggling and working to ensure that germany doesn't regress into a terrible anti semitism so that remains an open democratic society for my son oscar i wish to say that he's never attacked in this way again venza mccoskey thank you very much you're welcome to. find him i wasn't always successful i wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth i had to find success they offered him.
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