BERLIN (VINnews) — Yevgeni Wasserman, a German Jewish citizen serving as a policeman in Germany related that he is hiding his Jewish identity at present due to the worrying increase in anti-Semitism in Europe and in particular in Germany.Join our WhatsApp group
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Yevgeni Wasserman says that his family originated in Germany, but was banished from the country and moved to Poland. There the family also experienced anti-Semitism and his great-grandfather tried unsuccessfully to get a ticket on the Titanic to immigrate to the US. Fortunately the ticket did not materialize but eventually the family accepted an offer from the USSR and moved to Uzbekistan where his grandfather built huge dams and the family lived peacefully for a long period.
All this however changed when the Soviet republic disintegrated. Uzbekistan became a sovereign state and most residents reverted to Islam. The country felt the influence of the war in neighboring Afghanistan as Muslim refugees streamed there. Jews felt less welcome in the new situation and the Wassermans, fearing pogroms, chose to return to…Germany.
Wasserman says that the 100,000-strong Jewish community in Germany is close-knit and when something happens, people may know the victims or the place personally. He says that he grew up in Dessau, near Halle where there was an attack on Yom Kippur 2019 at the local synagogue, and knows lots of local people, including those who were in the synagogue.
“There were no police on hand in Halle to guard the place,” Wasserman says. “I believe that it’s very important to guard Jewish institutions with police. There’s no other way, unfortunately. Only in this way can we prevent potential attacks from taking place. I myself guarded synagogues in Frankfurt when I started in the police. Nothing ever happened but I’m happy we were always there just to demonstrate how important it is.
“I don’t personally wear a kippa daily but the media reports show that there is still a lot of anti-Semitism. I know many Jews who hide their faith. Some don’t want to receive mail from the Jewish community, since it says Jewish community on the name of the sender and they don’t want the postman or neighbors to know they are Jewish. Most people I know do not wear a kippa publicly. Sometimes they prefer to wear a baseball cap or some other head covering, but many do not wish to be publicly recognized as Jews. When I was in school most students knew I was Jewish and now most of the policemen I’m acquainted with also know.”
Wasserman came to Dessau with his parents in 1995. He stills go back there to celebrate festivals with them, since even though he is not very religious, “it’s still part of my identity.”
When asked why his family chose to immigrate to Germany, Wasserman says that they had three choices: Israel, the US or Germany.
וסרמן: “היו לנו שלוש אפשרויות: ישראל, ארה”ב או גרמניה. ישראל הייתה אז גם לא בטוחה, זה היה זמן קצר אחרי האינתיפאדה. הצבא הישראלי והפלסטינים עדיין לחמו באלימות באותה תקופה. הורי בחרו בגרמניה מכיוון ששכר הלימוד בארצות הברית בדרך כלל גבוה מאוד. ואנחנו הילדים היינו צריכים לקבל השכלה טובה”.