Anti-Semitism is on a meteoric rise not only in this county but also in Europe. For thousands of years, the Jewish civilization has had to suffer the onslaught of terror, loss of livilhood and homes, and death. We all know about the most devastating act of anti-Semitism–the Holocaust. This happened 75 years ago, and with the passing of survivors, eye-witnesses, and lack of determination for our American society never to forget, we are entering a new “repeat” of what had happened in Nazi Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. Harassment, vandalism, attacks, and outright murder have become more and more commonplace for the past several years. Without awareness of what is happening today, we will become complacent. We must bear some culpability through our lack of action. We cannot and should not tolerate this blatant wave of hatred, bigotry, violence, and the destruction of property.
In my speech to service organizations and other groups, I talk about this dangerous path and how we, as a society, must do more to stop it. I use a PowerPoint presentation to give examples of the daily incidences of anti-Semitism. And I don’t have to go any farther than my home state of Indiana. On July 28th, 2018, a Carmel Synagogue was spray-painted with a huge, red and black swastika. The culprit, a twenty-something man from Morgan County claimed responsibility and was sentenced to three years in prison and a $1000 fine. Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana is not immune. I. U. fraternity students attacked a Jewish man from another fraternity, and hate speech was spewed on social media. And sadly, on the night of November 18. 2003, the Candles Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, was fire-bombed by a white supremacist from Missouri. He was never charged for lack of evidence. This museum had been founded by the late Eva Kor who had been a victim of horrifying medical experiments by the notorious Dr. Joseph Mengele, Auschwitz’s Angel of Death. This destruction had been a cruel setback for Ms. Kor, whose mission was to spread the work about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.
When such vile attitudes, whether due to lack of knowledge of denial of the Holocaust results in degradation, it affects our whole society. No one is invulnerable. When people are singled out because of their religion, creed, skin color, or origin of birth, we all lose. We have the power to stop it. But do we have the will?