More than just remembrance is needed to tackle persistent antisemitism

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 27 January, is a chance to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to remind us of the persistent problem of antisemitism. This year FRA will join senior politicians, diplomats, global figures and experts from around the world to discuss how to deal more effectively with antisemitism, racism and xenophobia in Europe as they mark 70 years to the day on which the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.

Recent tragic events across Europe are poignant reminders of the pressing need to counter antisemitism that continues to haunt Europe today. We need to more than just remember the Holocaust to honour the countless victims that were brutally slain under the Nazi regime,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “We must stamp out all forms of antisemitism; from the blatant acts of vandalism of Jewish sites to the quiet acceptance of stereotypes and subtle forms of hate speech online and off. We must address anti-Jewish prejudice at every level of society and we should condemn antisemitism wherever we meet it, if we are to counter the fear that Jews continue to feel in Europe today.

FRA’s 2013 report on the first-ever comparable figures on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU revealed how 66% of respondents consider antisemitism to be a major problem in their countries. 76% said the situation had become more acute over the last five years, underlining the need for urgent action by EU and its Member States to find effective ways of combating this pervasive and persistent problem.

On 26-27 January, FRA will attend a high-level conference in Prague, hosted by the Czech government in conjunction with the European Jewish Congress and the European Parliament. The event, ‘Let my people live!’, aims to raise awareness among decision makers and opinion leaders on the issue of antisemitism, racism and religious radicalism, so that they can work towards creating a legal framework to effectively counter these intolerant and dangerous tendencies.

On 27 January, FRA will launch its online training toolkit ‘Fundamental Rights and Holocaust Remembrance’ accompanied by a training workshop for European Commission officials in Brussels. The workshop objective is to reflect on remembrance and how EU officials should address contemporary fundamental rights challenges in their daily work. Participants will be led through a series of interactive working groups where they can discuss with trainers the responsibilities of civil servants. The seminar was co-developed between FRA, the European Commission and the Wannsee-Memorial and is the latest in a series of Holocaust and human rights education activities that have been developed by FRA.