No room for Anti-Semitism and Racism

Today we are witnessing the rapid growth of anti-Semitic and racist tendencies all over the world.

Dr. Rachel Heuberger, historian, former head of the Judaica division of the Frankfurt University Library and member of the council of the Jewish community in Frankfurt am Main. (photo credit: COURTESY OF MARCH OF THE LIVING)
Dr. Rachel Heuberger, historian, former head of the Judaica division of the Frankfurt University Library and member of the council of the Jewish community in Frankfurt am Main.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF MARCH OF THE LIVING)
Today we are witnessing the rapid growth of anti-Semitic and racist tendencies all over the world. Hatred and hostility are not limited to words only, but are expressed also in a multitude of acts violence.  The point has been reachend, where synagogues, churches and mosques are attacked and people are killed. In public, Jews and those who look different are no longer safe from hostility.
Anti-Semitism has always existed and has not disappeared even after that rupture in civilization, the Shoah. In recent years, however, anti-Semitism has not limited itself to radical circles on the fringes of society, but has increasingly reached the center of the middle classes. In times of crisis in particular, like in these days of the corona pandemic crisis, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories arise and Jews and strangers are blamed for all problems. Intolerance among citizens is growing staedily and is dividing our society. That is why it is time for all who care to join forces against hate speech and intolerance on the historic date of November 9, 2020.
November 9th is the day of remembrance of the November pogroms in 1938, that took place in Germany and Austria on the night of November 9th and 10th. Over 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions as well as thousands of Jewish shops, apartments and Jewish cemeteries were destroyed. Many hundreds of people were killed directly or died as a consequence. More than 30,000 Jewish men were deported to concentration camps. The November pogroms marked the path to the Shoah, systematic persecution and murder followed.
In Nazi Germany, anti-Semitism and racism were part of the regime's ideology and politics, the pogroms of 1938 were organized and directed by the state. Today intolerance and right-wing radicalism are condemned in liberal societies, and in some countries anti-Semitic symbols and slogans are prosecuted. And yet anti-Semitic crimes are on the rise and hate speech is spreading, especially on social media.
Often has it been said that the fight against anti-Semitism and dicrimination has to start early on, at it’s beginnings. Now, however, we have to ask ourself, if the initial stage of hate-speech and hate-crimes hasn’t passed already and therefore action has to be taken now.
This year March of the Living and Jewish communities around the world are joining forces and have proclaimed November 9th as Day of Solidarity against Hate Speech. To commemorate the November pogroms of 1938, when the mass extermination of Jews began, this year synagogues, places of worship, institutions and private houses around the world will be illuminated on the night of November 9th. Symbolicaly in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the main synagogue, the Westend Synagogue, will be illuminated. This is one of the few synagogues that was not destroyed in the November pogroms.
In addition, and as part of this historic initiative, individuals of all religions and backgrounds all over the world are invited to write personal messages of hope in their own words at the campaign website and will thus be able to participate virtually in the international collaboration:
Anti-Semitism and racism are an attack on democratic society as a whole, on our values ​​and beliefs. That is why intolerance and discrimination must not be condoned in an open society that believes in human rights and human dignity.  Defending a democratic society is not an easy task. This must be done continuously and with a lot of perseverance. But it's worth it. A free society and the peaceful coexistence of different cultures worldwide can only succeed on the basis of tolerance and mutual respect.