A recent survey conducted by the Research Center on Interethnic Relations at Babes Bolyai University of Cluj, in central Romania shows these awareness campaigns have yielded results, but at the same they’ve had an adverse effect, reflected in the fact that, in the last three years, the number of Romanians who believe that the persecutions of the Jews are exaggerated, has grown from 27% to 31.5% Istvan Horvath, the coordinator of the survey entitled “The Interethnic Climate in Romania in the Run up to European Integration”, explains:
“What’s interesting is that this campaign on raising awareness has a double effect. On the one hand it’s increased the awareness of the population on the issue of the Holocaust, of Romania's contribution to the Holocaust, but on the other hand it's increased a bit the segment of the population which became more sensitive to negationist affirmations, so those beliefs that actually the Holocaust was not true or it's oversizedly presented.”
“The accusation of deicide, that is, of having murdered Jesus Christ, is frequent at folkloric level, at the level of the rural population in Romania, unlike Poland for example where this accusation is present at all levels of the society.”
At present the Jewish community in Romania numbers around 7000, which is almost non-existent. Andrei Oisteanu says one the most frequent questions he’s asked, especially when traveling abroad is: “how is it possible for a country with no Jewish population left to still harbor anti-Semitic feelings?”
“This question is wrong. It somehow implies that anti-Semitism in a country with a more numerous Jewish community is reasonable and needs no explanation. Well, anti-Semitism is unreasonable anywhere. But, actually in a country like Romania, with almost no Jewish community left, anti-Semitism is more easily manipulated. You cannot claim that Jews have a devil’s horns and tail, I’m exaggerating, but not too much; you cannot claim that when Jewish people are present and everybody can see that they don’t have a devil's horn and tail. The presence of Jewish people in a country actually proves false all the misconceptions, prejudice and stereotypes about Jews.”
“We should rather look to the government sponsored conference of Holocaust deniers organised in Iran these days, where indeed, what you see is a monster itself. I mean, it's prejudice, it's popular rage, blatant lack of education, stately sponsored and politically directed. This is the monster, not, let's say, David Irving who is serving his jail time in Austria, not Mel Gibson who gets drunk in Los Angeles and has a rant in front of a police officer. The real danger is the Arab inspired, the left inspired anti-Semitism, as you can see it in Iran for instance, or in the fashionable, left wing champagne socialism, left circles of Europe, where savvy anti-Semitism lives a bizarre resurgence nowadays."
Perhaps a good safety valve in this rather tense ethnic climate would be to go watch Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat. Some may find funny the scene in which Cohen, himself a Jew, asks a gun shop owner what would be the best gun to kill a Jew and receives a non-hesitant answer “I’d recommend a 9 mm or a Glock automatic.”Listen to the report:
With between half a million and six hundred thousand Jews, France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish community. A majority live in Marseille in the South East of the country, in Strasbourg in the North East, and in Paris. For Network Europe, Radio France International’s Nick Champeaux went to several Jewish neighborhoods in the French capital, and filed this report.
In Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Hercegovina, there is a small but active Jewish community. Both its history, which dates back to the 16th century and the days of the exodus of the Ladino-speaking Spanish Jews, and its present situation in post-war Bosnia, sets it apart from the Jewish communities of other European capitals.
The Nazi regime and the atrocities of World War II almost wiped out Jewish life in Germany. But, the number of Jews has been steadily increasing since the early 1990s, mainly a result of many Jews from the former Soviet Union moving to Germany. Comprehensive education for rabbis is once again available in Germany. This year, for the first time since the war, three Rabbis were ordained in Dresden. Germany's Jewish communities are awakening to new life. Kirsten Rulf visited one of them as he settled into his new job.
The jewish community in Sweden dates back to several hundreds years ago and the Jewish migration has had several huge waves. Gaby Katz from Radio Sweden has visited the Jewish Museum in Stockholm and they special exhibitions portraying Jews. She investigated the place of the Jewish minority in Sweden.
Berte is a Jewish holocaust survivor. In 1943, in Nazi occupied Holland, Berte was rounded up with her parents by the Nazis and sent to Camp Westerbok in the netherlands and then on to Bergen Belsen, the notorious concentration camp in Germany, where she spent the rest of the war. When she was freed by the Russian army in 1945 she was 7 years old. Last month she and 69 other Dutch survivors returned to the site of the camp to finally inaugurate a Dutch memorial. Radio Netherlands' Jonathan Groubert went with her...
This webpage receives support from the European Union