75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, antisemitism remains imminent

There is no such thing as a single antisemitic event. They are all part of the same atmosphere, create and follow the same trends and produce the same agitation.

Baruch Adler (photo credit: Courtesy)
Baruch Adler
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When I was a child in Uruguay my parents didn’t talk about the Holocaust. It was very present but very few spoke about it. Especially about the details. I knew my mother survived the Holocaust and that a Polish farmer saved her by hiding her in a pit, but not much more than that.
The intention, of course, was to protect us from the horrors that no human can conceive. I was exposed to details in their fullest horror as I helped my mom give a Yad Vashem recognition to the farmer who saved her – a Righteous Among the Nations. In that moment something about me changed forever.
The thought that the memory of the Holocaust is waning and that God forbid the terrible sacrifice will be forgotten – is a catastrophe to me.
My mother and father got engaged in Poland in 1936, but my father went to build a better future in Uruguay. My mother was supposed to join him, but then the war broke out and she got stuck in Zaborów. All of her family members were murdered before her eyes or taken to extermination camps. She moved from one hiding place to another, until she came to the Polish farmer who agreed to hide her in the pit, along with another family of four and another woman.
This is how she survived the horrors. After 10 years, during which my father waited for her without knowing anything, she joined him in Uruguay and they were married there. This story is ingrained in my flesh and accompanies me always. I decided I would dedicate my entire life to make sure that no one forgets.
This is just one small story, one of the millions that fire up the Holocaust memorial torch. That torch today is facing high winds that threaten to extinguish it. Research shows that more and more young people around the world have never heard of the Holocaust, do not know that it happened or are not aware of its scope. I have no doubt that this educational neglect leads, down the road, to antisemitic events that become an epidemic.
The best way to fight antisemitism, and all forms of racism, is through education. I can testify that after being exposed to my mother’s story, like thousands of other Holocaust survivor stories, I became a man who could not endure racism. This is also what happens to each one of the tens of thousands of the March of the Living participants who come every year to walk the condemned road between Auschwitz and Birkenau. No one finishes this journey the same person.
The calls of state leaders to fight antisemitism are of course encouraging, but it is also time to act. There is a need for rallies, demonstrations, determined enforcement and above all, an educational enterprise. For example, if every child in the United States is exposed to a survivor testimony during his or her studies, antisemitism will shrink miraculously.
Unfortunately, I cannot regard the line of antisemitic attacks as single, detached and context-less events. Antisemitism has lifted its dreadful head and is threatening entire communities. Jews in many places around the world no longer feel safe. In the long term, the solution to this problem lies in the lessons of the past.
All the people of good conscience in this world, all leaders and the public at large must unite behind this goal. The Holocaust serves as a warning sign of the abyss into which human evil can sink. There is no such thing as a single antisemitic event. They are all part of the same atmosphere, create and follow the same trends and produce the same agitation. It is a rolling snowball that must be stopped before it is too late. The Holocaust survivors are few in number, but we must talk and talk and talk, fight and fight and fight. The danger is more imminent than we think.
Baruch Adler is vice chairman of the March of the Living and the son of a Holocaust survivor.