You might have heard of Austria, of its decadent Schnitzels, or its beautiful mountains, or even its unforgettable culture and history… However, it's doubtful that you've ever heard of posters of holocaust survivors being vandalized and ripped through, or people getting yelled at or beaten in the street, for wearing a Kippah, or a Magen David chain. Maybe that ought to get someone's attention for a little visit.
Vienna is facing a crisis: antisemitism is resurfacing stronger than ever, and people don't know how to react.
Anyone who has studied the history of antisemitism, knows about World War II, the Holocaust, and Hitler's imperial destruction strategy, starting here in Austria. The Austrian population welcomed him with open arms and suffered the consequences. Soon enough, they would see the horror unfold and witness the unspeakable acts Hitler's army had done. Decades later, Austria had found its rightful place in the European Union and had integrated itself in international endeavors. Additionally, a growing Jewish community has been thriving since the mid-’70s with large immigration from the former Soviet Union. Antisemitism would almost have ceased to exist after that time, as consideration had conquered people's minds, and tolerance had filled people's hearts.
However, now 7 decades after these unspeakable times, we find ourselves in a never-ending cycle, that seems to never accept us Jews as a part of humanity. We live in a time of crisis, in a time that has seen too much bloodshed, and too little hope.
The old ways have come back, we see antisemitic symbols returning to the streets, political parties aligning with enemies of our people, attacks around the world that will never cease.
We can't and won't let antisemitism take over, we won’t let turn a blind eye to xenophobia, we won’t let racism and antisemitism exclude our people, we won’t let our efforts be in vain. The voice of our witnesses is fading, but ours will prevail forevermore. People are doubting history, but what are we without it? We need to fight now, and only now because tomorrow will be too late. We remember. We will always remember.
Alix Gilkarov is a BBG from BBYO Austria.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
See how my heart and home, Ohavim BBG from Eastern: North Carolina Council, achieved a huge membership milestone with creative MIT asks!
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