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Opinion

German Teens Stand Against Anti-Semitism

October 29, 2019

Cologne, Germany

In this day and age, it seems as though the Jewish people are still dealing with antisemitism worldwide. There are many people who don’t even feel the need to justify their hatred, and still continue to spread their anti-Semitism. Jewish Communities are devastated by acts of violence and messages of hatred. Young Jewish people are outraged and we must take action. It isn’t surprising that young people are speaking out, and that is for a simple reason: we are the ones who have experienced these anti-semitic incidents at least once in our lifetime, if not on a regular basis!

As a German and Jewish teenager, a lot of people in my community fear that Germany might become dangerous for us. It has happened once before, who's to say it won't again? The hate we experience isn't out of the blue, these beliefs and ideals of white supremacy simply never disappeared! After the Holocaust many Nazis were still able to keep living in the GDR (former East-Germany) or left for the West. People turned a blind eye to this. You know what they say, Ignorance is bliss. 

Our generation has to deal with the consequences of this:

An estimated 90% of anti-semitic reported cases in Germany are committed by individuals who identify as right-wing.

13% of the German votes went to the right-wing party AFD, which has strong ties to radical-right groups that are publicly pursuing hateful messages. 

As a result, police guards are placed in front of every Jewish institution. Luckily specific Nazi symbols, terms, gestures and the denial of the holocaust are all illegal actions, but this doesn’t stop them from appearing. These laws were established in the assumption that we would learn from our past, and evidently, we haven't.

The tragedy in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur was heartbreaking. Some say that it was orchestrated out of evil, but also stimulated a wake-up call for politicians. It provides evidence of the deeply rooted anti-semitism that people have been ignoring for too long. 

This tragic event sparked a need for my community to take matters into our own hands.

The network Likrat, promotes the idea of fighting anti-Semitism with education. At Likrat, Jewish students meet with classes, likely their age, and facilitate a dialogue about these issues. In these sessions students ask questions, learn, and connect. They find similarities in their experiences and help to foster a sense of support and community. It is creating awareness and preventing a lack of knowledge leading to ignorance. What Likrat does is challenge us, as well as the teens of other backgrounds and religious beliefs on the other end of the conversation. Through this experience, we can inspire change.

 

We are citizens of a nation, no one will tell us we are not German “enough”, American “enough”, Argentinian “enough” - Citizen “enough” just because we don’t fit into the old picture, we won’t give up trying to change the people for the better whilst opening their horizons. We know what might happen if we don't act now - so we do!

Because I’ll tell you what, as the chapter, Kadima Düsseldorf said in their video clip for our Jewish Convention the Jewrovision: “We’ll stay here because we are from here!”

Naomi Tamir is an BBG from the Jachad youth club in Cologne, Germany and is excited to give you insights from the perspective of a German Jewish teen.

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