Anti-Semitism apparent outside Potomac bubble

Anti-Semitism apparent outside Potomac bubble

Alex Silber

Many students don't even think twice about displaying their Jewish pride

By Gil Jacobson, News Editor

Two recent incidents of Jewish mistreatment, one in Auschwitz, Poland Jan. 31 and the other in Dallas Feb. 19, have caused several to wonder if anti-Semitism is still present in the world today.

Although Potomac’s high Jewish population isolates many from real-world anti-Semitism, these recent events have proven that anti-Semitism remains present in the world today.

“Specifically, we are concerned about anti-Semitism expressed as Holocaust denial coming from influential sources and state-sponsored anti-Semitism that has the potential to lead to mass violence,” said Diane Saltzman, Director of the Initiative on Holocaust Denial and anti-Semitism at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.  “We address these issues through our multilingual web site, through our podcast series Voices on Antisemitism, as well as the development of targeted resources on the Holocaust in the languages of countries where we are concerned about the trends.”

The event at Auschwitz occurred when Jewish train passengers were told by hijackers Jan. 31 to exit the train at Auschwitz, a concentration camp run by Nazi Germany during World War II, and take a shower at the site, which is now a memorial and museum.  The National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS/SNCB) later filed a complaint with police citing incitement to hatred, the encouragement or stirring up of hateful behavior.

According to a Feb. 11 article in Tablet, an online Jewish news magazine, this was an act by teenage hijackers who successfully “stole the keys that operate the loudspeaker.”

In addition to the Auschwitz train incident, Holocaust survivor Max Glauben was robbed Feb. 19 of some of his most valuable photos and mementos that he uses when speaking to visitors at the Dallas Holocaust Museum.

According to a Feb.11 USA Today article, Glauben’s valuables were kept inside two leather bags, which were stolen from the trunk of his car.

CHS students had mixed reactions to these events, and while some found them shocking, others were not too astonished to hear the news.

“I am not surprised by these incidents,” said junior Jackie Plesset, who visited several concentration camps last summer.  “There will always be anti-Semitism and unfortunately nothing can or will ever change that.”

Senior Harrison McCabe, on the other hand, took a slightly different stance.

“The train incident was very shocking to hear about, but I feel that it was driven more so by teenage stupidity than anti-Semitism,” McCabe said.  “It was just a very immature thing to do, and hopefully the pranksters will regret their actions.”

Although McCabe is surprised something like this would happen, he, like others, believes anti-Semitism continues to exist across the globe, even 70 years after the Holocaust.

“It would be ignorant to say that anti-Semitism is not present today,” McCabe said.  “You are not going to see much in Potomac, but it is there.  There are millions of people who are uneducated about these matters, or those who just hate Jews.”