Neo-Fascist German Synagogue Attacker Jailed for Life

A GERMAN court has given a life sentence to the gunman who killed two people after attempting to attack a synagogue during the Yom Kippur holy day.

On October 9th, 2019, Stephen Bailliet was stopped from perpetrating the worst anti-Semitic attack in Germany since the Second World War by the bolted door at a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle. When the 28-year-old failed to shoot up the 52 worshippers barricaded inside, he opened fire at a nearby kebab shop killing a man and woman.

“The attack on the synagogue in Halle was one of the most repulsive anti-Semitic attacks since World War II”, prosecutor Kai Lohse told the court in the nearby city of Magdeburg. A lawyer for the victims said that the trial had been “stressful and empowering”, as Bailliet was sentenced to life in prison.

Dressed in a military outfit, the gunman live-streamed the attack online after posting a neo-fascist and anti-Semitic manifesto to the internet. He showed no remorse during the five-month trial, telling the court that “attacking the synagogue was not a mistake, they are my enemies”. He also expressed Holocaust denial beliefs in court, which is a crime in Germany.

Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Jeremy Issacharoff, told AFP that the attack was “a very, very alarming moment in Germany” adding that if Bailliet had gained entry to the synagogue “it would have had a tremendous impact on German identity after the war and the fight against anti-Semitism.”

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...