Yom Kippur Synagogue Attacker Kills Two in Germany

Gunman denies Holocaust, and claims “the root of all these problems is the Jew."

“Anti-Semitic Yom Kippur shooter is arrested after livestreaming himself killing two people near German synagogue while ranting about the Holocaust, feminism and immigration,” the Daily Mail reported Wednesday. Bild identified the gunman as “Neo-Nazi Stephan Baillet,” 27 years old and in custody after arrest.

About 70 people were inside the synagogue in Halle, Germany, including 10 Americans, according to CBS News. The shaven-head shooter dressed in a military or police-style uniform, wore a helmet equipped with a camera, and deployed several rifles. A report based on his video, posted on the gaming site Twitch but since taken down, speculated that Baillet had explosive devices in his car.

Baillet reportedly hails from Saxony-Anhalt, the German state that includes the city of Halle, and was not previously known to police. Prior to his attempt to enter the synagogue, Baillet “addressed his camera during the live stream and made anti-Semitic remarks in English,” referring to himself as “Anon.” Baillet said, “I think the Holocaust never happened,” adding, “feminism is the cause of decline in birth rates in the West,” before decrying mass immigration and concluding: “The root of all these problems is the Jew.”

For all his high-powered hardware, Baillet was unable to get into the synagogue, firing shots at the gate which failed to yield. During this effort, he threw a grenade into the synagogue’s cemetery and shot a woman walking down the street. The gunman then drove to a Turkish kebab shot, where he shot and killed a man, left the shop, then returned to fire at the victim’s dead body.

Baillet fled the area in his own car and drove to Landsberg in Wiedersdorf, where he stole a taxi and fled. A truck rammed the taxi and police took Baillet into custody. At this writing, he has yet to make a statement and names of the victims have not been released.

Early reports were quick to make comparisons with the anti-Semitic shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, Poway, California, and the attack at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Rita Katz, of the SITE Intelligence group, tweeted “these are not isolated attacks by people merely holding similar beliefs. Today’s attack is another installment from a global terrorist network, linked together via online safe havens much like ISIS.”

The default description of the gunman was “right-wing,” with variations. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer cited “sufficient indications for a possible right-wing extremist motive.” The government of Chancellor Angela Merkal condemned the attack and German foreign minister Heiko Maas tweeted: “Shots being fired at a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the festival of reconciliation, hits us in the heart. We must all act against anti-Semitism in our country.”  

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, “the former East Germany, where today’s attack took place, has been particularly susceptible to far-right violence since reunification in 1990.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the attack in Halle as “a new expression of anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe.”

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement, “this act in Halle on the highest Jewish holiday Yom Kippur has deeply troubled and scared our community. The brutality of the attack surpasses everything we have seen in recent years and is a deep shock for all Jews in Germany. The fact a synagogue was not protected by police on a holiday like Yom Kippur is a scandal.” 

Gideon Falter of Britain's Campaign Against Antisemitism told reporters “All over the world, far-right, far-left and Islamist fanatics are stoking the flames of Jew-hatred with too little being done to stop them.”

The attack on the Halle synagogue, the Post reported, comes days after a Syrian man attempted to enter the Berlin Jewish community center and synagogue in the district of Mitte. Armed with a knife, the man, shouted “Allahu akhbar” and “F--k Israel” as he sought to enter the building. And last week in Bavaria, “an Arabic-speaking man tossed a rock at the head of an Israeli woman after he heard her speaking Hebrew.”

According to the Daily Mail report, “Germany has also been on high alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years claimed by the Islamic State group.”

As some may recall, Germany was not on high alert during the 1972 Munich Olympics when a squad of PLO Black September terrorists abducted, tortured and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Spearheading the operation was Black September commander Abu Yousef al-Najjar, whose grandson, Ammar Campa-Najjar is running for Congress in San Diego, California, as a “Palestinian Mexican” and “Latino Arab-American.”

Meanwhile, none of the German officials attempted to describe Stephan Baillet’s synagogue attack as “worship-place violence.” By contrast, when “soldier of Allah” Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers at Fort Hood, the former Barry Soetoro, then president of the United States, called the mass murder a case of “workplace violence.”

November 5 will mark the tenth anniversary of the attack, at that time the worst on American soil since September 11, 2001.