Focal Point: Antisemitism


Why this Focal Point

We are observing a troubling trend of antisemitism, which is geographically spread, culturally inconsistent, religiously diverse and politically polarized. The growth in the number, ferocity and intensity of public attacks on people, property and interests deemed to be Jewish is cause for serious concern, as is the apathy that often greets it. This Focal Point at USC Shoah Foundation addresses the contemporary crisis of antisemitism using the bedrock of its Visual History Archive to support dialogue, education, research and connection.  It is a community space where you too are encouraged to participate by submitting content, linking to resources or engaging your social networks through the Focal Point to highlight strategies for addressing antisemitism in real time.

Marcy Gringlas on modern antisemitism

September 2014, in Belgium, a synagogue was the target of an arson attack. In Italy, in August, protestors headlined “Boycott Israel!” and urged people “not to buy from the Jews,” listing shops in Rome that were alleged to be owned by Italian Jews. In July in Toulouse, France, following an anti-Israel demonstration, a protestor threw two Molotov cocktails at the Jewish Community Center.

What is happening now in Europe is reflective of a tremendous rise in antisemitism, with a rise in blatant public acts of antisemitism. Almost as if the veil was lifted.

Institute Educational Resources on the Issue of Antisemitism

Academic Work on the Issue of Antisemitism Drawing from the Institute’s Visual History Archive

  • Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in the Nazi Killing Fields. Wendy Lower. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
  • Nazi Germany, Canadian Responses: Confronting Antisemistism in the Shadow of War. L.R. Klein. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, 2012.

Relevant Testimony Clips from the Institute Archive

Rudolph Abraham

Language: English

Rudolph Abraham recalls his first encounters with anti-Semitism in the early 1930s in Hungary.

  • Rudolph Abraham

    Language: English

    Rudolph Abraham recalls his first encounters with anti-Semitism in the early 1930s in Hungary.

  • Edith Abrahams

    Language: English

    Edith Abrahams remembers the anti-Semitic attacks and demonstrations in Germany including the burning of Jewish books.

  • Jack Lerner

    Language: English

    Jack Lerner recalls the moments he experienced anti-Semitism in his childhood.

  • Maximilian Kaufmann

    Language: English

    Maximillian Kaufmann speaks about the anti-Semitic propaganda in Austria including newspapers, which drew shrewd caricatures of Jews. He also recalls witnessing the attacks of orthodox Jews on the city streets.

  • Samuel Marcus

    Language: English

    Samuel Marcus reflects on the anti-Semitism he experienced as a child in New York.

  • George Weiss

    Language: English

    George Weiss was seven years old when the Germans invaded his home country of Belgium. He reflects on the shame he felt when he was forced to wear the yellow star of David to school.

  • Renée Firestone on the Importance of Tolerance

    Language: English

    Renée Firestone reflects on the importance of tolerance and hopes that future generations will learn from her testimony, and stand up against prejudice.

  • Judy Lysy Remembers Jewish Restrictions

    Language: English

    Judy Lysy speaks how Jewish restrictions and anti-Semitism increased in her hometown in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Yehudi Lindeman

    Language: English

    Yehudi Lindeman, a child survivor from the Netherlands, speaks of the importance of all people learning from the Holocaust.

  • Erno Abelesz on the German occupation of Hungary

    Language: English

    Erno Abelesz remembers when German forces occupied his home country of Hungary on March 19, 1944.

  • Robert Fisch

    Language: English

    Robert Fisch speaks on the importance of standing up to intolerance and the dangers of being a bystander.

  • Agnes Adachi on the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games

    Language: English

    Agnes Adachi remembers attending the Olympic Games in Berlin 1936; and describes what it was like to watch Jesse Owens compete and win the gold medal. She recalls that the anti-Jewish restrictions and propaganda had been eased at the time because of the international presence in Germany.

  • Norbert Friedman with a Message to the Future

    Language: English

    Norbert Friedman talks about the importance of learning lessons from the Holocaust, which include human compassion for others, tolerance of different religions and respect for human life.

  • Henry Laurant on experiencing anti-Semitism

    Language: English

    Henry Laurant remembers the first time he experienced anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. He was targeted by other children who were influenced by Nazi rhetoric. His testimony is featured in the multimedia professional development program, Echoes and Reflections.

  • Leo Bach with a message to the future

    Language: English

    Leo Bach explains how humanity has a responsibility to stop atrocities like the Holocaust from happening again.

Blog: Through Testimony

March 18, 2015

What does it mean to live 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz in a world in deep crisis? What does it mean with all we know about the damage that hatred causes – after all the pain we have gone through – that we are hurtling out of control into an inferno of rage that takes us right back to where we started?  Why are survivors of the Holocaust who walked out of the camps with at least the hope that their own suffering was not in vain, dying disappointed?

By Stephen Smith

More posts on the topic

March 18, 2015; by Stephen Smith
February 5, 2015; by Joel Citron
September 18, 2014; by Stephen Smith
September 10, 2014; by Stephen Smith