Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, told Sputnik that it is ‘deeply troubled’ by the lack of Holocaust awareness and the state of antisemitism in Europe’ found by the recent CNN survey.
Separately, as the centre sees it, the survey highlights the troubling fact that many ‘entrenched hateful anti-Semitic tropes persist in European civilization’, 75 years after the end of the Holocaust. While admitting that antisemitism does not necessarily lead to genocide, Yad Vashem representatives noted that ‘antisemitism was central to the Nazis'’ worldview and the basis for their ‘Final Solution’ to eliminate Jews and their culture ‘from the face of the earth’.
The survey findings prove that it is necessary to step up efforts with regard to Holocaust education and awareness, ‘which is essential to any effort to contend with antisemitism’.
Yad Vashem remains determined to foster the requisite knowledge and provide means to teach the public about the Holocaust and its dangerous implications.
‘We have created numerous tools to further our educational efforts, in order to ensure a deeper understanding about the Holocaust and antisemitism’, proclaimed Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.
Most recently, Yad Vashem created an online course entitled ‘Antisemitism – From its Origins to the Present’, which was introduced less than a year ago on the UK e-education platform FutureLearn. More than 10,000 people from all over the world have already joined the ‘enlightening and compelling’ course, the organization noted.
While Holocaust education plays an indispensable role in combating antisemitism, it must also be ‘augmented by effective government legislation and enforcement’, it further noted. Yad Vashem believes that by raising public awareness about the Shoah [the Hebrew word for ‘Holocaust’], not as a closed chapter in human history but as a relevant topic for our modern time, the nations of Europe and elsewhere will be ‘better equipped and motivated to fight racism and antisemitism’, the organization remarked.
‘Not Surprising, but Alarming’
Dr. Jean-Yves Camus, Director of the Observatory of Radical Politics at the Jean Jaurès Foundation in Paris echoes Yad Vashem center’s point of view, saying the results of the poll are ‘not surprising but alarming.’
‘The danger is that when you don’t know it can lead to this again,’ he remarked, adding that many see the Holocaust as a thing of the past, but ‘the Holocaust is something troubling for every European,’ as the Holocaust, surprisingly, happened in ‘the most civilized continent in the world’ – Europe.
‘It's a burden in the mind of most Europeans. Many people in Europe believe that Jews are a tool of the state of Israel,’ Camus noted going on to say that both right and left-wing extremists view Jews as a fifth column, Israeli agents in countries of their citizenship.
‘The stereotype that the Jews have power over the economy, with most of them being bankers or financial traders and so on […] is something which has always been used against the Jews “as a political weapon”.’
‘Education and Action From Political Leadership’ Strongly Needed
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a leading Jewish human rights organization, is certain that ‘there should be less talk and more action’ with regard to Holocaust awareness. ‘Many young European people don’t know what took place on their soil’, he noted adding that ‘education and specific action from political leadership and media’ are top priorities.
‘Media in Europe has been demonizing Israel. The best way to defeat stereotypes is to set up opportunities to educate. The most important thing is to expose young people to fellow Jews in their communities’, he underscored.
According to the recently conducted CNN poll, while many admitted the Holocaust being an important historic issue to remember, some suggested that the massacre is being used by the Jews to push forward their own goals. More than a quarter of Europeans surveyed believe that Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflicts and wars across the world.
Meanwhile, a third of Europeans polled said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust, the mass murder of roughly 6 million Jews in territories controlled by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s.
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The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.