Having visited several Jewish museums in Poland, and Auschwitz, in the past year and learnt about the extirpation of entire villages, towns and cities of its Jewish population as recently as 75 years ago it's uniquely harrowing. All those photographs of vibrant communities and evidence of community life and in the space of a few years those centuries-old communities are exterminated forever. Some 3 million Jews, half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust, were Polish Jews. 90% of Poland's Jewish community were removed from this earth. The magnitude of this, and how recently it was, should make us worried about rises in antisemitism among local communities in Eastern Europe again. I would make distinctions between this and most (all?) of the French attacks in the sense that the latter seems to be from Arab Muslim communities, whereas this seems to have a deeper, indigenous origin. It's all antiseimitism of course, but there appear to be distinctions.
We all make a mistake if we think what the Nazis did could not happen again. It may not be Jews next time - simply because there wouldn't be enough of them - but there will unfortunately be populists in our societies who will always seek a scapegoat.
Antisemitism threatens Romania's fragile Jewish community (15 April 2019):
Ugly scenes of smashed and toppled headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Romania have shocked the country's dwindling Jewish community and prompted international condemnation.
Vandals badly damaged 73 gravestones in the north-eastern town of Husi earlier this month, amid a surge in anti-Semitic attacks across Europe.... Before the war, Romania had one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. Today it is a fraction of its original size and most of the community are elderly.
"In 20 years there will be no Jewish community in Targu Mures," predicts history teacher Gyuri Diamantstein. Aged 64, he is one of the youngest at the prayer service, attended by around 20 people.
"We are the last representatives of (Romania's) Jews - we are dying," he says.
The Husi cemetery attack occurred less than a year after the childhood home of Romanian Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, a Nobel laureate who for decades fought against hatred, was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. The graffiti scrawled on his former home, now a museum, read: "Public toilet, anti-Semite paedophile" and "Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler." Romania is not alone in witnessing anti-Semitic attacks. France reported a 74% rise in violence against Jews last year, while German police recorded a 60% rise...
1. Anti-Semitism rising sharply across Europe, latest figures show (15 February 2019)
2. 'Hundreds' of US Jewish graves attacked in Philadelphia
3. 37 Tombstones Desecrated at Jewish Cemetery in France (NYT, December 2018)
4. Jewish cemetery vandalised in ‘horrible act of antisemitism’ in Greater Manchester (10 Feb. 2019)
5. The longest hatred: Anti-Semitism on the rise (9 December 2018)