From the start of 1945, as Allied forces converged around Nazi Germany, the death camps were unveiled to the world. One by one the concentration and work camps were liberated: Auschwitz in January 1945, and then, in April 1945, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau. Even Germans who denied — or claimed they never knew of — the now infamous death camps’ existence were forced to see the horror, as photographs and film footage revealed thousands of dead Jews, unburied, among the dying.
The BBC, which recently interviewed survivors of the camps, reminded the world 70 years on of the devastation and trauma endured by those who survived Hitler’s massacre of an estimated six million Jews over the course of his Third Reich.
However, the memorial services in April, along with the media coverage, has also reignited anti-Semitic feeling in certain quarters, with such extreme websites as ‘Truthseeker’ claiming the high number of Jews murdered is a ‘myth’. ‘Metapedia’, a far right ‘alternative Wikipedia’, claims the six million figure has been a common ‘Kabbalistic’ exaggeration, used many times over the past 2000 years by the Jewish occult. However, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial (which also refuses to acknowledge the thousands of Gypsies, immigrant, Communist and other people groups murdered by Hitler) are not confined to the darker edges of the internet.
After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, in January this year, Muslim fanatics besieged a kosher food store and killed four. In March, a synagogue in London was infiltrated by a mob of 20 men and women who stormed in, calling out, ‘Kill the Jews!’
Then, in April, the Conservative Party had to suspend its Derby council candidate Gulzabeen Afsar, after she referred to Labour leader Ed Miliband as ‘the Jew’ in her Facebook post. Quoted in the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Leadership Council said the Tory response had been ‘insufficient’ and called for disciplinary proceedings to be launched against Ms Afsar. In a statement, it said, ‘It is important that this election is contested fairly and with decency. Such prejudiced remarks have no place in British politics’.
Sadly, those who identify with Christianity are not innocent of anti-Semitic behaviour. In August 2013, Roman Catholic Dola Indidis, a Kenyan lawyer, attempted to file a petition with the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in which he suggested that the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ were unlawful, and the State of Israel, among others, should be held responsible.
True Christians will abhor all such expressions of anti-Semitism, rooted as they are in ethnic hatred thinly veneered with religion.