Viviane Teitelbaum, a Belgian MP, speaks on the isolation around antisemitism and the importance of speaking up.
Transcript: It is not what is said that kills me… it is this silence that annihilates me.’ [cut] This strength that we as interviewees have to speak out and give our testimonies, and to hope that the things we say might be heard… It does a lot of good. It gives a lot of renewed energy.
Samuel Sandler tragically lost his son and grandchildren in the Toulouse attacks– and it haunts him.
Transcript: And until today, this has not sunk in: my son Jonathan and my two grandchildren were murdered. I was looking for my children, the rest did not matter. I was looking for my children. I wanted to see Jonathan and my grandchildren. This was the only thing that counted. I have always lived with the tale of my cousin’s deportation when he was 8. I have been marked by this event. In the same way, I have always wondered what Jonathan’s and the children’s last moments were like. But I kept wondering. I do not accept it. I cannot accept this.
French politician Robert Badinter is used to diplomatic speeches but antisemitism is too dangerous to dance around: it deserves no mercy.
Transcript: One can see the demons re-appear, the masks of traditional antisemitism that is nourished by anti-Zionism. [cut] I was born Jewish. I grew up in a Jewish family and I saw the horrors of the Occupation. Then I saw the birth of Israel – saw it grow and develop to become a super military power and above all an important scientific one. But I realize that the division of the society in distinct communities creeps into Western societies, particularly in Europe and in France. Well, in forthcoming days… I consider that they will not be bright. So we need to mercilessly combat antisemitism and racism in all possible ways. But it will not be easy because... Well, I never thought I would have to say this only 20 years ago. But that’s the fact.
Diplomat Jan Deboutte knows the danger of letting antisemitism go unchecked – and still, he says, there is hope.
Transcript: It is not too late, but it is time that we realize that what begins with antisemitism does not end with antisemitism. It keeps living on, we have seen it: what happened in the second World War can repeat itself. There is still time for people to react, don’t wait too long because time is also limited. And it would be criminal to not realize that we need to act. Now.
Twenty years after giving USC SF her original testimony, Holocaust survivor Fay Vidal wrestles with the complexities of antisemitism.
Transcript: I so wish I were able to define… I wish I were able to draw with a beautiful black pen and say: “That’s what it is, this is a bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit of this also,” but there is no limit, it is endless, there is no firm definition. It is a nine-headed Hydra. It is a monster with billions of heads. [cut] At a soccer game a player is Jewish – someone is holding a poster and shouting, “Long live Palestine.” What is this, if not antisemitism?
Didier Reynder’s perspective changed after witnessing a horrifying attack at the Jewish Museum in Belgium.
Transcript: I arrived at the museum and there were locals, people all over the place who were still frightened of what had just happened. I saw the first two victims in the entranceI did not enter the museum. I am used to reading reports, comments, notes on terrorist attacks and criminal acts. But obviously when you find yourself directly in the presence of bodies on the ground, it totally changes your way of seeing reality.
Antisemitism is a problem that affects humanity as whole, says Chouna Lomponda, who works at a museum that was violently attacked.
Transcript: When we talk about antisemitism, and of course I have friends who have suffered from antisemitic acts or insults. We cannot take the measure of it if we don’t live it from the inside. And I think the March attacks (on the Jewish Museum) proved it to us. It is not a question of religion, nor of race. It is really a collapse of our democracy, which is being shaken. It is our living together that is hurt, our cultures too. And this concerns us. It does not concern me because I work in a Jewish museum, it concerns me as a human being. It concerns us all.
Hatred pushed his brother to pull the trigger on Jewish lives, but Abdelghani Merah believes in a better world.
Transcript: Mohammed Merah is not a hero. A hero does not kill kids because they are Jewish. A hero does not fire a gun in the back of military men. I say: a hero who hurts children and military men does not do this kind of thing. A hero is someone who confronts life with dignity and who respects his next of kin. A hero fights for truth and and a hero fights for justice and Mohammed Merah is not a hero, he is a coward. And only cowards kill in the name of a doctrine.
Elie discusses the complicated process of leaving France for a new life in Canada. He remembers his excitement visiting a new country, which he had never done before in his life. This clip is part of the Visual History Archive's Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre collection.