A German Jewish man who says that he and his family were forced to leave their home because of a neighbor’s Anti-Jewish harassment has expressed concern that the courts will deny him the justice he seeks.
Speaking to the German broadcaster SWR, the Jewish man — identified only as “Michael R.” for legal reasons — recounted a harrowing tale involving Anti-Jewish insults, threats and stalking going back to 2013, when he and his family moved into their new house in the central German town of Teningen.
The family’s confrontation with their 62-year-old neighbor, who has not been named, began when Michael R., concerned for the safety of his children, approached him with a request that his son drive his car more carefully. The neighbor responded by insulting Michael R. as a “filthy Turk” before adding: “When I say Turk, I mean Jew.”
Following this outburst, Michael R. filed a complaint with the town hall, which he told German media yielded nothing. In the meantime, the neighbor stepped up his harassment with repeated Anti-Jewish insults.
After enduring his neighbor’s Anti-Jewish taunts for several months, Michael R. finally lost patience and slapped the man with the back of his hand. As a result, he was fined 900 Euros by the district court in nearby Emmendingen and banned from approaching or contacting his neighbor.
According to Michael R., the judge in the case showed no interest in the Anti-Jewish harassment that led to the slapping incident. As he launched an appeal against the verdict, which he eventually won in 2019, the neighbor again intensified his harassment. The family reported swastikas scratched on their car, Anti-Jewish letters pushed through their door and anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night.
A police investigation in 2019 established through fingerprint analysis that the Anti-Jewish letters had been delivered by Michael R.’s neighbor. However, attempts to bring the neighbor to trial for his actions have so far fallen short.
The neighbor claims that as a result of being slapped, he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is scared to face Michael R. in court, although the psychologist responsible for that assessment also pointed out that he could participate in legal proceedings remotely.
Meanwhile, Michael R. is being asked to accept a compensation payment of between 1,000-1,500 Euros in lieu of further proceedings. While the neighbor has reportedly accepted this solution, Michael R. has rejected it, pointing out that he was forced to sell the house at a loss in 2020 in order to escape his neighbor’s aggressive behavior.
Lars Petersen, a spokesperson for the district court, that he could not comment on an ongoing case, but remarked that “generally speaking, there are arguments to drop the case.”
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Author: Ben Cohen
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