In Berlin, Israelis fear losing their refuge

In Berlin, Israelis fear losing their refuge

If Shuli Aviad, while growing up in Tel Aviv, had been told that her second son would be born at Charite Hospital in Berlin, she would not have dared to believe it. “Raphael was born in the children's department that was headed by my grandfather Oscar Wolfsberg ninety years ago. He worked there until 1933, when a friend warned him that he was being blacklisted and advised him to leave immediately with his family. They left the country within two days.” She says she moved. His grandfather later served as a diplomat for Israel.

Wolf, a different name than Wolfsberg, is the name Shuli chose when she changed her last name on her taxi app. A reflection of the fear that has spread widely among Israelis in Berlin, since the Hamas massacres of October 7, 2023 and the increase in anti-Semitic actions that followed.

In her apartment in Prenzlauer Berg, Shuli Aviad talks at full speed about everything she has been through since then. The horror of the videos, the constant conversations with his family in Israel, the impression that he is mentally there. The new anxiety was felt here too. As if he had to say everything, too quickly, for fear of losing himself in the intensity of these dramatic moments and the memories of his family's past. “Now I avoid speaking Hebrew to my children on the street. I thought about changing our name on the door downstairs. It's terrifying, we feel what my ancestors felt. Even in the third generation, we all have this fear engraved within us, that this might happen again. However, and this is paradoxical, I believe we are in one of the safest cities in the world for Jews. I would rather be here than in London or the United States. »

Shuli Aviad, who arrived ten years ago with her tech entrepreneur husband, is not the only one who senses this startling contrast among Israelis living in the German capital. Rotem von Oppenheim, who has lived there since 2015, avoids certain neighborhoods with his children. She also changed her name on her taxi order, but still asked her parents to come and live temporarily in the family apartment. “They refuse, despite the sirens in Tel Aviv, Says. Personally, I cannot imagine returning to live in Israel, I feel at home here. »

Multicultural city

In Berlin, there are on the one hand renewed attacks on people, the throwing of Molotov cocktails at a Jewish cultural center in the Mitte district, the drawing of the Star of David on homes, and pro-Palestinian demonstrations that sometimes carried violent slogans against Jews. state.

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