May 27 (UPI) -- Anti-Semitic crimes targeting members of the Jewish faith in Germany reached their highest level in almost two decades in 2019, according to new government figures Wednesday.
Police statistics show the number anti-Semitic crimes in Germany rose 13 percent last year to 2,032, the highest level since 2001.
Ninety-three percent of the crimes were attributed to right-wing perpetrators -- part of a general upsurge in which more than 41,000 cases of politically motivated crimes of all types were recorded, a rise of 14.2 percent.
German interior minister Horst Seehofer and Federal Police Commissioner Holger Munch warned that politically motivated crimes in Germany are increasing significantly and are being exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The biggest threat comes from the far right, we have to see that clearly," Seehofer said.
Georg Maier, interior minister of the German state of Thuringia, said the increase "represents a new dimension of threat against our democracy."
Anti-Semitic crimes in 2019 included three deaths, including that of conservative politician Walter Lubcke. A far-right extremist initially confessed to the crime before recanting.
Preliminary estimates in March prompted Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to link the rising figures to prominence of the right-wing Alternative fuer Deutschland Party, which has become the largest opposition force in German Parliament since 2017.
"The breaking of taboos ... that we experience everywhere, which are largely fueled by the AfD, ultimately translate into action," he said.