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With anti-Semitism on the rise, Auschwitz liberation commemorated

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With anti-Semitism on the rise, Auschwitz liberation commemorated

By Justyna Pawlak and Joanna Plucinska

 

2020-01-27T001544Z_1_LYNXMPEG0Q00O_RTROPTP_4_HOLOCAUST-MEMORIAL-AUSCHWITZ-GERMANY.JPG

A commemorative plaque is seen at the Gleis 17 (Platform 17) memorial, a platform at Berlin-Grunewald train station from where some 50,000 Jewish citizens were deported by train to the Nazi concentration camps between 1941 and 1945, in Berlin, Germany, January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

 

WARSAW/OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) - World leaders join ageing Holocaust survivors in Poland on Monday to mark 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by Soviet troops, amid concerns over a global resurgence of anti-Semitism.

 

More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished in the camp's gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease.

 

Set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland in 1940, at first to house Polish political prisoners, it became the largest of the extermination centres where Adolf Hitler's plan to kill all Jews - the "Final Solution" - was put into practice.

 

Speaking before Monday's ceremonies, David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, said groups ranging from far-right white supremacists to jihadis and the far-left were fuelling anti-Semitism worldwide.

 

"Jews in western Europe think twice before they wear a kippa, they think twice before they go to a synagogue, think twice before they enter a kosher supermarket," he told Reuters.

 

A 2019 survey by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League showed that about one in four Europeans harbour "pernicious and pervasive" attitudes towards Jews, compared with 19% of North Americans.

 

In Germany, 42% agreed that "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust", it said. Two people were killed in a shooting near a synagogue in eastern Germany in October, in what officials called an anti-Semitic attack.

 

After visiting Auschwitz last week, Mohammed al-Issa, the head of a global Muslim missionary society, said governments and Muslim communities should do more to combat anti-Semitism.

 

"European countries should have stronger and more active laws that would criminalise anti-Semitism," Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL), told Reuters.

 

More than a dozen heads of state including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will take part in ceremonies starting at 3.30 p.m. (1430 GMT) at the "Gate of Death" where rail tracks led trains packed with victims into the camp.

 

The commemorations take place as Poland seeks to highlight its own suffering during World War Two, in which six million Poles, including three million Polish Jews, were killed and Warsaw was razed to the ground.

 

For many non-Jewish Poles, Auschwitz remains the place where the Nazis jailed and killed Polish resistance fighters, the intelligentsia, Roman Catholic priests and innocent civilians.

 

Critics say the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government is not doing enough to counter anti-Semitism and is instead focussing on what it sees as Polish heroism during the war and downplaying Jews' claims to postwar restitution of property seized from them. PiS says the West fails to grasp the extent of the nation's pain and bravery.

 

One survivor, a Jewish Pole, spoke about the need to remember Auschwitz.

 

"We need to do everything possible to keep this world from acquiring amnesia," Benjamin Lesser said at the camp on Sunday. "It's hard to believe civilised, cultured, educated people could become such monsters."

 

(Writing by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Giles Elgood)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-27

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We must never forget and work together across all country’s and religions to stop it from happening again to anyone!

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... said the spider to the fly

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I tend to think that claims of anti-semitism are greatly exaggerated. Any supposed increases are due to nuanced changes of the definition of anti-semitism, to limit criticism of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

I lived among Jews in the US for many years and had no problems at all but I am tired of all this PR which is basically used to give Israel a free pass to continue with atrocities and land theft in Palestine. 

It is time to stop looking constantly backwards to the Holocaust and to look to the future. High time for Israel to get out of Palestine and give these poor folk their territory back.

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This stuff is hilarious. 

 

I don't believe anti-semitism is on the rise myself. I do believe people are telling the truth more now. 

 

The truth is not anti semetic, it is just the truth. 

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The last sentence in the OP says it all. 

 

Hard to understand how cultured, educated, intelligent, rationale people could suddenly be capable of such actions.

 

The fine line we all tread perhaps. Beware of propaganda and manipulation by politicians and fanatics following their own agenda.

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7 minutes ago, Pedrogaz said:

I tend to think that claims of anti-semitism are greatly exaggerated. Any supposed increases are due to nuanced changes of the definition of anti-semitism, to limit criticism of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

I lived among Jews in the US for many years and had no problems at all but I am tired of all this PR which is basically used to give Israel a free pass to continue with atrocities and land theft in Palestine. 

It is time to stop looking constantly backwards to the Holocaust and to look to the future. High time for Israel to get out of Palestine and give these poor folk their territory back.

This is an example of what we are speaking about. Conflating Jews with Israel is classic Anti-Semitism. Should we be blaming Christians in general for the actions of the Lord's Army in Uganda or for the actions of other oppressive Christian-majority countries? The "I lived among Jews...had no problems" - you missed out on "I have many good Jewish friends". Again, a line you will hear from practically every Anti-Semite. The majority of Jews live outside of Israel and have never visited the place. We don't vote in Israeli elections, we don't follow Israeli politicians and we don't agree with Right-Wing governments in general (majority of non-Israeli Jews tend towards the liberal end of the political spectrum). 

This "PR which is basically used to give Israel a free pass" - so it didn't exist prior to Israel and didn't substantially lead to the Holocaust? Or are you of the opinion that the Holocaust wasn't so bad?

 

You are presumably not Jewish, so would have very little idea about experiencing Anti-Semitism, just as I would have very little idea about the day-to-day experiences of a black or transgendered person in the USA. But I certainly would not presume to doubt or denigrate their experience or dismiss it out of hand especially if I were a member of the demographic that they identify the majority of the oppression coming from.

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16 hours ago, Pedrogaz said:

I tend to think that claims of anti-semitism are greatly exaggerated. Any supposed increases are due to nuanced changes of the definition of anti-semitism, to limit criticism of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

I lived among Jews in the US for many years and had no problems at all but I am tired of all this PR which is basically used to give Israel a free pass to continue with atrocities and land theft in Palestine. 

It is time to stop looking constantly backwards to the Holocaust and to look to the future. High time for Israel to get out of Palestine and give these poor folk their territory back.

I could give many examples of how a different narrative is available.  Where is the PR located?  Is PR the sole province of Israel?  Another poster mentions ‘the truth’.  Where is the truth found?  CNN?  BBC?

 

You wrote:
“High time for Israel to get out of Palestine and give these poor folk their territory back.”

 

I assume you believe that Israel has a right to exist.  

Does Hamas?  Did Arafat in 2000 at Camp David?  Does Iran? Do the Palestinian students chanting from the valley to the sea? , etc......

 

it certainly is high time. But not to commit national suicide.

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