If you want to know how badly is the need to speak up against antisemitism now, listen to this 37- minute NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast featuring Alexa Smith, who bravely chose to speak up as a student at the University of Michigan in the face of blatant university-sponsored antisemitism.
We Jews in America are the German Jews before WWII:
And as I discussed recently with Evelyn Markus, co-host of the NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast, I do not mean January 1933 when Hitler was democratically chosen chancellor of Germany.
I also do not mean 1935, as Dara Horn mentioned in her September/October 2021 Hadassah Magazine article “Is This Our Old/New Normal? The re-emerging scourge of antisemitic violence”:
It was demoralizing to confront the American Jewish community’s ongoing and escalating panic, the completely justified intergenerational PTSD freak-out voiced constantly from every point on the political spectrum, the repetitive anxiety attacks expressed on social media, the nonstop discussion about whether this was like Berlin in 1935.
I mean starting with the end of WWI fighting on November 11, 1918:
In my nonfiction reading since the lockdowns, I have learned numerous historical facts impacting the Holocaust that I did not previously know:
As opposed to WWII, when the Allied bombing of Berlin and other German cities made it clear to the Germans that they were not winning the war, the Germans’ understanding at the end of WWI was quite different.
German propaganda led the ordinary Germans (including those fighting at the front) to believe Germany was winning the war. The surrender came as a complete shock, and this gave rise to the almost immediate blame game against the Jews, the Communists, and others for what was called, after the WWI Treaty of Versailles, the “stab in the back.”
And 1919 is when militant German factions led by various leaders began their antisemitic campaigns, not to mention their assassinations such as the June 24, 1922, assassination of Jewish German industrialist Walter Rathenau, then serving as German Foreign Minister for the Weimar Republic (formed at the end of WWI).
While I am not a historian and could not attempt to explain the various German political parties all fighting – often quite literally – for control of Germany, I do understand these militant groups all combined to create the proverbial canary in a coal mine.
Why must the Jewish year of 5782 be our “wake up” year?
Because it is now the time to pay attention to what has already passed the “thin edge of the wedge” and moved solidly into the middle of the pie. If you doubt this, listen to the podcast interview with Alexa Smith at https://b.link/Ep18NeverAgainIsNowpodcast
And finally, as discussed in my August 31, 2021, Times of Israel post — “Teen Now in 11th Grade Started Gen Z Jews Outreach” — about Zachary Singerman, Gen Z Jews especially must step up to the plate now to fight antisemitism if they want to live in a future world where Jews and other minorities are not continually targeted for violent hate crimes.
In the coming year all of us can do our part – whether explaining to someone that his/her offhand comment is offensive to Jews or supporting organizations that fight antisemitism – to help make sure that the U.S. of 5782 and 2021-2022 is not Germany in 1919. Because we all know where that led!