More than 70 years after the horrific events of the Holocaust, a new strain of antisemitism is spreading across various regions of the world. Never is this more apparent than in Europe, where an uptick in hate crimes and incendiary rhetoric mark a disturbing trend. Produced by the DW Documentary series, Antisemitism in Europe travels to Berlin, Paris and Warsaw to uncover the possible motivations behind its emergence, and the steps that are being taken to curb its prevalence.
Berlin houses the largest Jewish population in Germany. This is where the Nazis first organized the extermination of European Jews. Today, the past has become prologue. The capital city documented close to a thousand incidents of verbal and physical attacks against the Jews in 2017. Representing a 60% increase over the previous year, this troubling statistic indicates a growing mainstream wave of antisemitism. Critics claim that the rise of the ultra-right AfD Party has empowered more obvious demonstrations of these prejudices.
The same dynamic applies in Poland where an emerging nationalist movement has taken over the political and social landscape.
In light of recent mass shootings, episodes of vandalism and displays of antisemitic hate speech, many French Jews are fearful for their safety. Many are immigrating to Israel to escape the increasingly hostile climate.
As detailed in the film, recent spikes in Muslim populations have also posed a challenge to multi-cultural integration. The film profiles several efforts to branch those divides as activists work to create a dialogue of understanding between Muslim and Jewish citizens.
The film features interviews with political insiders, social activists and members of these racist factions. They speak of populations that feel underserved and left behind. The venom of racism provides an outlet for their discontent, and the Jewish people are increasingly made the scapegoats of their frustrations.
For many, the idea of antisemitism seems like a distant remnant of the past. But it's clearly alive and well. If left ignored, an insidious streak of racism can one again become the norm. In order to combat this potential reality, Antisemitism in Europe champions more open dialogue and impassioned outreach.