The secretary general of Germany’s Jewish community has declared that the country’s tough hate-crime laws are partly “responsible” for the rise of the German far right because they sweep the growing problem of anti-Semitism under the carpet – instead of confronting and defeating it in a frank and open debate.

And in a high profile demand for change in German-Jewish relations, Stephan Kramer, the secretary general of the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (Central Council of Jews in Germany), has also called for a re-think on the country’s Holocaust education. In an interview with this reporter, he claimed that in the last 20 years it had gone “terribly wrong” because it had sent a message to young Germans, who were born decades after the Holocaust, that they should be ashamed of their country – causing resentment and an identity vacuum within society which the extremists are exploiting.