New German anti-Semitism commissioner: Horrific anti-Semitism burned into our culture


Central Europe


Bishop Gerhard Ulrich. Photo Nordkirche.de

There is much work to do regarding anti-Semitism, says Bishop Gerhard Ulrich. He is the new anti-Semitism coordinator in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. "Everyday anti-Semitism feeds on a grandiose lack of knowledge about Jewish culture", he notices.

When playing in his parents' house attic, Ulrich stumbled upon several scrapbooks containing anti-Jewish stickers. Before that, he had already witnessed several discussions with his father about his attitude towards Judaism. "At the time, I did not understand my parents' motives. Today, I know that there is no simple answer to this issue”, Ulrich said, as reported by Evangelische Zeitung.


Many Germans lack knowledge about Jewish culture, according to the former regional bishop of the Northern Church in Germany. "Many people do not realise that the Christian faith also has Jewish roots. Jesus Himself was a Jew."

As a commissioner of anti-Semitism, Ulrich wants to do something about that lack of knowledge. First, he wants to visit the nine Jewish communities in Schleswig-Holstein to discuss ways to combat anti-Semitism. That might lead to joint projects. In addition, Ulrich considers giving lectures on Judaism at associations and academies. "It must go without saying that people are allowed to live and celebrate their religion freely within the legal framework", he says.


The growing hatred of Jews and other foreigners is something to be ashamed of, Ulrich points out. Anti-Semitism in Germany is not only about attacks on synagogues but also seeps into people's everyday lives. Ulrich himself experienced that as well, as his father and grandfather were convinced of the truth of National Socialism during the Second World War.

Anti-Semitism has old papers. The Reformer Martin Luther wrote several anti-Semitic works, which the Nazis also used to build their ideology. "It won't go away, and history threatens to repeat itself", Ulrich warns.

Theatre studies

Gerhard Ulrich was born in Hamburg. He studied theatre studies before he started in the field of theology. Later, he became a pastor near Hamburg. In 2008, he was elected as bishop of Schleswig and from 2013 to 2019, he was the regional bishop of the Northern Church.



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