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The Persistent Scourge of Anti-Semitism in Germany

The following post was written by Bill Glucroft, Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation in Berlin, a sponsor of the JFN annual conference starting Sunday in Miami Beach.

Racism and anti-Semitism remain a stubborn problem in Germany, despite extensive efforts to confront its shameful past. The far right is responsible for the racially motivated murder of 184 people since 1990, with nearly 750 more that can’t be conclusively proven; their political parties serve in two state and 350 municipal legislatures; a campaign of fear and intolerance succeeds in keeping Germany’s eastern states virtually immigrant- and minority-free; and they exploit populism and nostalgia to garner support among young and old alike.

To understand neo-Nazi terror in Germany, you need not look further than the name of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.

Amadeu Antonio was an Angolan contract worker beaten to death by a gang of white youths in 1990 — the first known fatality of hate-based violence in reunified Germany. The Foundation was established in 1998 to promote democratic values in civil society, raise public awareness of the far-right movement and take action to counter it.

The Foundation is proud to be a sponsor of the 2014 JFN Conference in Miami Beach. Foundation chairwoman, Anetta Kahane, and head researcher, Dr. Heike Radvan, will attend with Luiza Hirsch of the Freudenberg Foundation, one of Amadeu Antonio’s strongest partners.

On March 10, they will host a roundtable breakfast to offer insight into contemporary neo-Nazism in Germany, and what the Foundation and its many partners are doing in response. Conference attendees can also view the Foundation’s traveling exhibit, ‘’Germany after 1945: A society confronts anti-Semitism, racism and neo-Nazism.”

Anti-Semitism remains front and center on the Foundation’s radar. It monitors the situation closely, conducting surveys and research, forming ‘’Action Week Against Anti-Semitism’’ and developing Holocaust remembrance projects with grassroots groups around Germany. The problem, though, extends beyond Germany’s borders, which means a broad, collaborative response is required.

The Foundation already works closely with major German media to raise awareness, and companies like Google and Facebook to take on Internet hate speech. The Foundation strives to be independent and critical of policy- and decision-makers. With 15 years of experience, the Foundation has amassed a wealth of expertise that can be set against hate not only in Germany, but across Europe and beyond.

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Holocaust Memory at Risk. The distortion of Holocaust History across Europe

Among the most prevalent forms of Holocaust denial and distortion in Germany today are the trivialization of the Holocaust, “Holocaust fatigue,” and the issue of “double-genocide,” the equation of Nazi and Communist crimes. Other noticeable aspects of distortion consist of inaccurate comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany or Zionism with Nazism. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s report, to which the Amadeu Antonio Foundation contributed, looks at these and other forms across Europe.

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