News / Europe

    Fears Mount of Resurgent Anti-Semitism in Europe

    Survivor Maria Stroinska reacts as she attends a ceremony at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau near Oswiecim, Poland, Jan. 27, 2016.
    Survivor Maria Stroinska reacts as she attends a ceremony at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau near Oswiecim, Poland, Jan. 27, 2016.

    Seventy-one years ago, Soviet troops entered the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi extermination camp near Krakow, Poland, liberating the remaining 7,000 prisoners, most of them sick and dying Jews.

    Days earlier, as the Red Army approached, the Nazis evacuated 60,000 other inmates, forcing them on a death march.

    Dozens of elderly Holocaust survivors lit candles at Auschwitz on Wednesday — the U.N.-designated International Remembrance Day — to commemorate the dead and to pay homage to their own suffering and the ordeals their families endured.

    Wednesday's remembrance comes against a backdrop of growing anti-Semitic threats, attacks and murders in Europe.

    Approximately 1 million of the more than 6 million Jews who died in massacres and a network of death camps across Central Europe died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex — poisoned in gas chambers or killed by starvation, crushingly brutal labor and torture, or disease.

    FILE - Flowers and messages in tribute to the victims of last year's January attacks are seen in front of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes in Paris, France, Jan. 6, 2016.
    FILE - Flowers and messages in tribute to the victims of last year's January attacks are seen in front of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes in Paris, France, Jan. 6, 2016.

    Ivan Martynushkin, a Red Army officer who turned 21 when his unit liberated the death camp, said last year: "We saw emaciated people — very thin, tired, with blackened skin. You could see happiness in their eyes. They understood that their liberation had come, that they were free."

    Shadow looms

    This year's anniversary — a year since Jewish shoppers were gunned down in Paris by an adherent of the Islamic State terror group — coincides with a shadow cast over a new generation of Jews, driving record numbers to leave the continent for Israel or America.

    “We must be honest enough to admit that more than 70 years after the Shoah, anti-Semitism is still alive in our 'civilized' European Union," said Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top foreign affairs official.

    In an interview with VOA, Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, a native New Yorker and a dual U.S.-Polish citizen, echoed the warning.

    Asked whether Jews still have a future in Europe, he said: "This is a very tense time for Jews in Europe. And it is not as simple a question to answer as it might have been five years ago. But at the end of the day, I can't imagine that all the Jews are going to leave Europe and so, therefore, there has to be a future."

    Record French exodus

    France, which has the largest Jewish population of any European country, has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitism.

    A recent report by Human Rights First suggested that more than half of all reported hate crimes last year in France were anti-Semitic, despite the fact that Jews make up only 1 percent of the French population.

    The consequence has been a dramatic exodus, with a record 8,000 French Jews leaving for Israel in 2015, according to Israel's Immigration Ministry.

    FILE - An armed French soldier secures the access to a Jewish school in France, Jan, 11, 2016, after a teenager armed with a machete and a knife, who said he acted in the name of the Islamic State, wounded a teacher before being arrested.
    FILE - An armed French soldier secures the access to a Jewish school in France, Jan, 11, 2016, after a teenager armed with a machete and a knife, who said he acted in the name of the Islamic State, wounded a teacher before being arrested.

    On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Europeans of not doing enough to combat anti-Semitism. He said anti-Semitism is not merely growing among new immigrant communities on the continent, but is gaining traction across Europe.

    Success in fight elusive

    Schudrich, who was attacked in 2006 in central Warsaw by a 33-year-old man with ties to Nazi organizations, doesn't entirely agree with the Israeli prime minister on the efforts of European governments.

    "European leaders have not been effective in their attempts to fight anti-Semitism," he said. "European leaders, Jewish leaders, we really have not found the effective method yet. But what is equally important is that many European leaders still really want to try."

    Schudrich welcomed remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week, when she stressed the importance of dealing with anti-Semitic attitudes among some migrants arriving from countries where "hatred toward Israel and Jews is commonplace."

    She cited the fears of German Jewish leaders and argued that the need to teach the history of anti-Semitism in Europe has grown more urgent with the influx of a record 1.1 million asylum seekers to Germany last year, many from the Middle East.

    "With many migrants, though, it is not only important to impart the lessons of the Holocaust, but the concepts of democracy, of multiculturalism and pluralism," Schudrich said. "These are not concepts they have encountered in their life experiences — it is not a criticism of them; it is a reality. And if they are going to succeed in Europe, then something is going to have to change. Learning about the Holocaust is one element in a much larger picture."

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: PermReader
    February 07, 2016 6:54 AM
    Europe,liberated of USSR,America`s pressure ,returned to its old habbit of Jew-hatred under the new "anti-Zionist" slogan. It`s funny that the slogan united the "liberals" and extreme rights.And anti-semitic Muslim immigrants appeare in due time.The anti-semitic, covered and open, propaganda makes by all traditional institutions including churches.Some "anti- neo-nazi" institutes declare their persecution of just nazis with swastika !

    by: Anonymous
    February 01, 2016 1:49 PM
    In light of the recent events, including European state institutions like the police covering up refugee crimes instead of confronting those crimes, don't you think that the renewed Anti-Semitism in Europe is legit or at least has a reason to exist?

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    January 28, 2016 1:24 PM
    Anti-Semitism’s part of Europe as England became European powerhouse, almost made Europe unilingual English. It’s in the few decades that some of Europe opened their eyes to know their rights. Then Europe was British vassal region. It came from one of their own – William Shakespeare - in the Merchant of Venice remember? Antonio against Shylock, satirically/comically gave the world an insight into the relationship between west-Europeans and Jews.

    It’s a relationship of hate-and-jealousy, exactly as western-Europe’s afraid of Russia’s self-sustenance despite all odds. However, in the case of Britain/Germany(Hitler’s icon) – Europe was brainwashed during the Middle and Dark Ages being subservient to Britain then perceived to be of superior breed - the dog from Scotland, Ice&Eskimos, Reds of Scandinavia – all who cannot anchor their phobia for the Jews except that their masters hated Jews.

    Jews were/are a stubborn people no doubt, never gave in to superiority/inferiority-complex, rejected British/sundry colonialism - but do they deserve all that phobic treatment even to inciting their Arab neighbors to hatred making the world unsafe? If they’re hated because they’re independent-minded, then let the world return to the servitude/colonialism, feudalism and all that. Let’s go back to the Dark/Middle’Ages, after-all muslims-al-qaida/ISIS have been demanding that.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 28, 2016 4:19 PM
    Anti-Semitism is on the rise all around the world because of the Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinian people and the illegal occupation and seizure of their lands, and anybody that blames other things for the rising anti-Semitism going on today, isn't being honest and truthful? .. The Israelis deserve no better treatment than the treatment they give to the illegally occupied Palestinian people? .. What goes around, comes back around, and the Israelis should expect nothing better or different? .. When the Israelis are treated like they treat the Palestinian people, then they can start crying too?

    by: PermReader
    January 28, 2016 7:05 AM
    Empty words,grime facts: Rouhany of the country that permanently threats to destroy the Jewish State was invited by European leaders in the Holocaust day!

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