Using Jew as an insult, desecrating Jewish cemeteries, and drawing swastikas on synagogues, have once again, 75 years after the Holocaust, returned. Hatred, persecution, and discrimination against Jews is now openly being practiced in Germany, especially within the school system. Director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin, Deidre Berger, wrote in The Times of Israel that "anti-Semitic incidents occur every day in Germany, on the streets, in schoolyards, in train stations, on the soccer field, and throughout social media." According to statistics found from the German government, the numbers of crimes linked to anti-Semitism in Germany have increased dramatically over the past year. In 2013 there were 788 cases, and in 2014 there was a 10 percent increase, proving that anti-Semitism is not merely a perception, but a social problem. Dilek Kolat, Berlin's senator for labor, stated that, "In 2013, of eight anti-Semitic attacks, seven came from the right and only one of them from a foreigner. The problem cannot be made to focus on Muslims.” This being said, 90 percent of the perpetrators come from the extreme right, leading to immense changes among Jewish students. According to Berger, “Due to specific cases of bullying and a general climate of anti-Jewish hostilities, some pupils prefer to attend Jewish schools and private schools.” Further, in some areas of German cities, wearing a head covering or a necklace with a Star of David is seen as a provocation and might be the reason for attacks or persecution. The Jewish community of Berlin, which is the largest in Germany, fear attacks like this on a daily basis. To illustrate the severity of this issue, an example of this is how publishers of the German-Jewish newspaper recently decided to mail their newspaper in unmarked envelopes so no one would know the recipients are Jewish.
In my previous blog posts, I have written about the political definitions of genocide, the goals of genocide, and its catastrophic outcomes. In this post, however, I wanted to focus on a different aspect, and further, illustrate that genocide can be connected to anti-Semitism. In the past three genocide examples in the other posts, it was evident that genocide is very rooted in political power and control. However, although I do believe that this is a huge factor in the effects of genocide and war crimes, I think the idea of one “man” having supremacy over a subordinate “man” is highly prevalent. This is why it is critical to take issues like anti-Semitism, racism, bias, and bigotry into strong consideration because those beliefs, ones that have an ethnocentric mentality, can lead to catastrophic conclusions, ones very much like, or what can even be considered, genocide. The Holocaust was a huge genocide committed on the Jewish people during World War II, and the idea that the small ideas of discrimination are reoccurring is critical to Jewish students, and further, the lives of many innocent people.
March 6, 2015