Anti-semitism still apparent today, should never be ignored


Masa Israel Journey / Flickr

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin opened the anniversary ceremony by calling anti-Semitism and racism a “malignant disease.” He added, “No democracy is immune to that,” according to CNN.

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific and tragic events to take place in history, making remembering these events important even 75 years later. Jan. 27 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. There are lessons from these events that we can relate to the present day. Many fear that we as a society are mirroring events of the past, due to words spoken by many world leaders.

Many have been concerned about the growing anti-Semitism in Europe and North America as well, including increasing violence and negative rhetoric against Jews. Conflict between Poland and Russia regarding the events of WWII is also what has mainly fueled this concern. 

Yehuda Bauer, a historian and Holocaust scholar, spoke about these concerns at an Israeli presidential residence dinner. Bauer, 95, stated that anti-Semitism “is not a Jewish illness, but a non-Jewish one,” referencing the millions of non-Jewish people who were also killed during the Holocaust. Bauer also referred to anti-Semitism as a form of “deadly cancer.” 

In order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a gathering at the campus of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem was held. Several presidents and other political officials attended the event designed to remember the Holocaust and speak out against anti-Semitism. 

Conflict arose between Polish President Andrzej Duda and Russian president Vladimir Putin regarding the event. Duda declined to attend the event because he was not given a speaking slot while Putin was. The conflict between these two has been taking place for months. Duda voiced his concerns by speaking out against some of the claims Putin has made regarding Nazism. Putin has been known to present the idea that the Soviet Union was prominent in saving the world from Nazism, while Duda believes that the Soviet agreement with Germany is what led to the war in the first place. 

“I am sorry to say this, but President Putin is knowingly spreading historical lies,” Duda said. This caused speculation that the event in Jerusalem was leaning towards a pro-Russian stance. These accusations and intense political disputes are part of the reason people are fearful of the regression back into an increasingly toxic society. 

The phrase “Never Again” was coined in an attempt to encourage us to never repeat the mistakes of the past. However, as we have seen from recent events, many of the actions taken and the language used has mirrored what happened during WWII.  

While at first glance it can appear that the events of the Holocaust are behind us, we need to remember to never forget them. If we forget the lessons we’ve learned from these events, the likelihood of regressing back to our old ways increases. We need to keep working towards change and make sure that “Never Again” becomes a reality.