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On 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Holocaust survivors say they fear familiar antisemitism

(JTA) — The comparisons are easy to draw: broken glass, burned buildings, shuttered businesses, dead Jews.

Eighty-five years after Kristallnacht, the anti-Jewish riots that marked a brutal turning point in the Nazi campaign of persecution in Germany, Holocaust survivors say what happened in southern Israel on Oct. 7 — and how they have seen the world respond since — reminds them of what they experienced in their childhood.

“When it all happened on October 7th, I couldn’t believe it,” Maud, who lives in Southern California, said in a testimony shared this week by March of the Living, a group that takes groups to visit concentration camp sites in Europe. “I’ve had sleepless nights since and it just brought back so many memories. It is so visual of what I saw as a child. … I have a hard time coping with what I read and what I hear and what I see on TV. I can’t come to terms with it. It’s so hard.”

March of the Living shared testimonies from eight survivors in four countries in advance of the anniversary, which is typically marked by somber ceremonies in which government officials reaffirm their commitments to the post-Holocaust vow of “Never again.”

This year, that rallying cry may feel harder to sustain, coming just a month after Hamas’ attack on Israel left 1,400 people dead, thousands wounded and hundreds held hostage in Gaza. Some victims have still not been identified because of the brutality inflicted on their bodies, which included, according to people who worked at the massacre sites, burning that echoed the most vivid horrors of the Holocaust. The attack and Israel’s military response have also unleashed rising antisemitism around the world.

“It started with words and continued with actions,” Nate, from Canada, said about his experience as a child in Poland, where he survived Auschwitz but most of his family members did not. “I am devastated to see how Jews are being attacked today. Jews are not safe.  I saw where antisemitism can lead to and I am very concerned.”

In a sign of how significantly the current climate is affecting survivors, the March of the Living communicated late Wednesday, after some testimonies had already been published, that the survivors did not want to have their full names or pictures published. Many have long been public speakers sharing their stories, but at the current moment, the organization said, they were concerned that exposing themselves would risk their personal security.

The testimonies are not the first in which Holocaust survivors have drawn straightforward comparisons between their childhood traumas and what happened on Oct. 7. Just days after the attack, survivors held a fretful press conference at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

“This is not what we expected in this final chapter of our lives, as we contemplate our legacy, the future of Holocaust memory and education, and the future of our people,” Nat Shaffir, 85, who survived the Holocaust in Romania said at the event.

A group of Holocaust survivors pose with posters of the hostages that were kidnapped by Hamas at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Nov. 1, 2023. (Julia Gergely)

And last week in New York, hundreds of Holocaust survivors posed with pictures of the roughly 240 people being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, as part of a worldwide campaign to keep attention on their plight.

“I’m back there all over again,” Toby Levy, 90, said at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where she is a longtime docent. “This is how it started with the Germans.”

Kristallnacht, which means “Night of Broken Glass,” was a series of Nazi government-coordinated anti-Jewish riots that swept through virtually every town and city across Germany beginning Nov. 9, 1938. (In Germany, it’s increasingly known as Reichspogromnacht to avoid the potentially beautiful images conjured by the English translation.) Over several days, rioters destroyed hundreds of synagogues, looted thousands of businesses and killed at least 91 Jews; 30,000 Jewish men were sent to concentration camps.

Kristallnacht marked the end of any vestige of security for German Jews and moment of acceleration in the Nazis’ genocidal campaign against them, which would result in the murder of 6 million Jews in Europe before the end of World War II in 1945.

“What Hamas did to the Israelis on October 7th is as cruel, barbaric, and tragic as what the Nazis did to the Jews 80 years ago,” Benjamin, a survivor who lives in Greece, said in his March of the Living testimony. “When I see Jewish homes marked with the Magen David, it brings back nightmarish memories from my childhood, reminding me of swastikas and concentration camps.”

But he finished on a more hopeful note: “My message is that we, the Jewish people, have endured significant suffering throughout our history, with the Holocaust being the darkest period. Though the current times are challenging, thanks to the brave IDF, a sense of normalcy will soon return to the State of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.”


The post On 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Holocaust survivors say they fear familiar antisemitism appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

The post UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

The post French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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