27 Jan 2015
Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, aging survivors and dignitaries gather at the site synonymous with the Holocaust on Tuesday to honor victims and sound the alarm over a fresh wave of anti-Semitism.
On the eve of the landmark event, which is expected to draw several heads of state, a leading Jewish organization was echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hollywood mogul Steven Spielberg in highlighting violence against Jews in modern-day Europe.
Europe is “close to” a new exodus of Jews, European Jewish Congress chief Moshe Kantor warned at a Holocaust forum in the Czech capital Prague.
“Jihadism is very close to Nazism. One could even say that they are two faces of the same evil,” he added.
Merkel said it was a “disgrace” that Jews in Germany faced insults, threats or violence, as she joined survivors Monday in Berlin observing 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army.
Spielberg pointed to what he termed “the growing effort to banish Jews from Europe” amid a rise in anti-Semitism on the continent underscored by the deadly Islamist attack on a Jewish kosher grocery in Paris earlier this month.
Underscoring the trend, France’s main Jewish agency CRIF released figures on Tuesday that showed anti-Semitic acts in the country, home to Europe’s largest Jewish population, doubling in 2014 to 851, compared to 423 the previous year.
Ahead of Tuesday’s ceremonies, Spielberg — who won an Oscar for the Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List” and who has also videotaped the testimony of 58,000 survivors — met with hundreds of them, mostly in their nineties, in Krakow, southern Poland.
See Also Times of Israel: In Poland, Spielberg raises alarm on growing anti-Semitism