On the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day, the day on which the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, anti-racist organisations note that political parties promoting racist and xenophobic discourses which target a variety of ethnic and religious minority groups are becoming increasingly popular. In a joint statement, published by the European Network Against Racism, they criticise the fact that members of extreme right parties, like Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece, including MPs, have denied the Holocaust and have openly incited hatred against Jews, Roma, Muslims, Black Europeans and migrants on repeated occasions.
In addition, recent research by the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows that there are significant levels of discrimination and hate-motivated violence against Jewish communities in the eight EU countries surveyed (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Sweden and the UK). For example, a majority of survey respondents (66%) regarded anti-Semitism as a major problem in their countries, and 33% of respondents expressed fear they may become victim of physical violence over the next year.
“Remembering the Holocaust does not just mean that we look to the past,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “Antisemitism is still a harsh reality in Europe. Some of it is outspoken and violent, but it is often far more subtle and quietly accepted. In order to move on, anti-Jewish prejudice must be addressed more firmly at every level of society, and we should all condemn antisemitism wherever we meet it.”
The FRA report also makes a number of proposals to improve the situation, including the need for EU Member States to ensure that Holocaust education is integrated into school curricula and to collect comprehensive data on how Jewish people experience fundamental rights in their everyday lives.