We are scared: the rise of anti-Semitism

March 9, 2021

Centotaph of Anne Frank at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho by Kenneth Freeman (Kencf0618) – additions by Exposure (to illustrate defacement)

Rosie Pundick reports on disturbing attacks that are perpetuating the trauma in her community

On 10th December 2020, Jewish families around the world lit the first candle on the Chanukiah. The celebration of light and joy had started: Chanukah.

A time for being with your family, remembering Jewish history and connecting with your religion.

This celebration soon turned dark.

On the first night, there was an anti-Semitic attack. On the second night, there was another anti-Semitic attack. There was then six more attacks. Eight attacks in total. One for each night of Chanukah. One for each night that should have been a night of celebration, love and joy.

When I heard about these attacks at the time, I was horrified but I didn’t know the specific details as I was focused on enjoying the Jewish celebrations. But since there has been a rise in anti-Semitism both online and in real life, I resolved to do some research.

Even though the Holocaust seems like a long time ago, people today are still using the killing of six million Jews and the brutal anti-Semitism of the Nazis to attack us today

The details of these attacks horrified me. They were sickening and almost impossible to read about. The one that struck me most was the vandalisation of a memorial to one of my heroes.

In Idaho, on the second night of Chanukah, the memorial of Anne Frank was defaced with swastikas and Nazi slogans.

Even though the Holocaust seems like a long time ago, people today are still using the killing of six million Jews and the brutal anti-Semitism of the Nazis to attack us today.

Anne Frank was a hero of mine as I was growing up. After I read her diary, I used to go to the library and seek out books especially about her. Like me, she was a young Jewish girl who was just trying to live. Unlike me, she was born in the century where our people were killed. She hid from the Nazis for 761 days. 761 days she lived in fear. After 761 days, she was captured and, a few months later, murdered.

Anne Frank in 1940 by unknown photographer (Collectie Anne Frank Stichting Amsterdam); colourisation by Exposure 2021

She used writing as an outlet for what she was going through and this was something I connected to. Writing for me has always been about escapism and connecting to something outside of reality.

Anne Frank wrote, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

Her courage was admirable. I would say she never despaired but this would be far from the truth. Her diary depicts moments of depression, anxieties, frustration. It’s the way she dealt with these, through writing and carried on despite what was going around her, that is so inspirational.

The Holocaust took away the lives of six million Jewish people. It caused massive inter-generational trauma and yet anti-Semitism is still going on, perpetuating the trauma.

My own family was affected by the Holocaust. My mother’s great-grandmother and her father died. Nearly a whole branch of my extended family died. My mother’s grandfather’s brother, his wife, their children were all sent to suffer in Dachau (a concentration camp).

Help to keep the Jewish community safe and stop the spreading of anti-Semitism. We do not want to feel the fear our ancestors did. We shouldn’t have to.

Holocaust jokes and anti-Semitism is on the rise on social media, especially TikTok. I recently came across a post comparing pizzas to Jewish people due to the ovens in concentration camps. It sickens me. As a Jewish person, seeing someone make light of the Holocaust is deeply upsetting and seeing someone use the Holocaust to be blatantly anti-Semitic is terrifying.

We, the Jewish community, are connected to the Holocaust. It’s not something that happened ages ago that we can now forget.

The Jewish people are scared.

Anti-Semitism is the oldest form of prejudice. From the beginning of recorded history, Jewish people have been thrown out of their countries, killed and attacked. It’s difficult to even find out when it all started. But the more important thing is that it’s carrying on.

As a young person, I want to be able to go onto social media and use it for fun, learn things and not be scared of facing hatred or being verbally attacked.

Please report any posts you see of anti-Semitism. Spread awareness of what’s going on. Listen to Jewish voices. Uplift them.

Help to keep the Jewish community safe and stop the spreading of anti-Semitism. We do not want to feel the fear our ancestors did. We shouldn’t have to.

Learning about Anne Frank put things into perspective for me. I was exposed to the direct effects of the Holocaust on young people. As I was brought up in a Jewish home and community, the Holocaust has always been something we remembered and talked about.

I encourage anyone, no matter your religion, to learn about what happened. I urge you to look into our history, Anne Frank’s story. Everyone can learn from her life and all the other victims of the Holocaust.

Rosie is a student, studying English literature, philosophy and history. Her passions lie in reading, writing, music and dance. Her goal is to become a foreign correspondent and report events all over the world, after studying English literature at university.

Rosie is a student, studying English literature, philosophy and history. Her passions lie in reading, writing, music and dance. Her goal is to become a foreign correspondent and report events all over the world, after studying English literature at university.

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