With antisemitism on the rise, Holocaust Remembrance Day takes on new significance

Jan. 27, 2023

By Francesco Infurna
Staff Writer

Antisemitic incidences have risen 34% between 2020 to 2021, according to the ADL, which tracks antisemitic behavior nationwide. With 2,717 incidences reported in 2021, there were more than seven antisemitic incidences in the United States per day. During the course of the year, there were over 1,776 harassment cases, which is a 43% increase from 2020, and about 853 incidents of vandalism, which is a 14% increase from 2020. 

According to the ADL, antisemitic incidences reached an all-time high in 2021. This disturbing trend continued in 2022.

Over the past few months, antisemitism has been especially visible on social media. In October, Ye–the rapper, songwriter, record producer and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West–shared his antisemitic views on Twitter, and followers’ responses, which were sometimes supportive, were startling and upsetting.

Sadly, discrimination and hostility toward Jewish people are nothing new. In fact, some people are not even aware of the Holocaust, and some believe the Holocaust is inaccurately depicted, despite the large amount of evidence surrounding it.

In 2020, the Claims Conference, a nonprofit organization that secures material compensation for Holocaust survivors around the world, published the results of a survey indicating that over 48% of U.S. millennials and Gen Z could not name a single concentration camp. Furthermore, 63% were unaware that over 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust

Even the world’s largest menorah near Central Park in New York City was forced to increase its security last month due to concerns about vandalism in light of antisemitic statements and the prevalence of hate crimes in the city.

Antisemitism is a huge problem, and it can feel disheartening because it seems that little is being done about it.

This is why it is important to recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a former Nazi concentration and extermination camp, on Jan. 27, 1945. This day, which reminds us of all the people who suffered or died in the Holocaust, is more important than ever. 

Antisemitism is a huge problem, and it can feel disheartening because it seems that little is being done about it. Antisemitism causes people to be targeted and hated for their religion and could make Jewish people afraid of showing their identity. 

An increase in antisemitism in America and in other parts of the world can also perpetuate hate towards other minority groups. For example, NBC News reported that anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% between 2020 and 2021. Likewise, BBC News reported that in western England, hate crimes directed towards LGBT people increased by 50% from 2019 to 2021.

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., there are over 195,000 names in the Registry for Holocaust Survivors, with a growing number of them now being deceased. 

To honor the victims and survivors as well as learn more about Jewish hate and work to prevent it, people should commit to watching some of the survivors’ testimonies, which are available on websites including those of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, USC Shoah Foundation and Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center located in Israel. Watching these testimonies can inform people about the true extent of the Holocaust and the devastation antisemitism has caused.

To stop discrimination and hate, people need to speak out against it. Especially with the popularity of social media, when people see someone posting something antisemitic, they need to point it out and explain that it is unacceptable, as silence encourages hate speech. Even in person, when someone does or says something antisemitic, people must call it out and point out why it is wrong. Antisemitism is unacceptable, and Holocaust Remembrance Day reminds us of that.

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