“We all feel helpless when hate arrives on our doorstep” | Antisemitism Today | USC Shoah Foundation
Author: USC Shoah Foundation via YouTube
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In 2017, approximately 150 headstones at the Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia were desecrated by an unknown group of people in the middle of the night. In her testimony, Naomi Adler (formerly of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia) recalls the incident, and the quick action taken to document the damage and restore the vandalized monuments.
Naomi’s testimony is part of USC Shoah Foundation’s “Contemporary Antisemitism” testimony collection. This collection addresses modern-day experiences of antisemitism from Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The interviews feature witnesses of violent events, victims of antisemitism, and people whose beliefs and attitudes related to antisemitism have evolved over time.
Antisemitism, the hatred of Jews as a group or a concept, has existed in different forms throughout history. During the Middle Ages, antisemitism was religion-based and centered on inaccurate myths about Jews and Judaism. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this hatred evolved into a non-religious form, as the world became obsessed with nationalism and perceived racial differences. During the Holocaust, Jews were persecuted and murdered because of Nazi ideology about racial superiority. Communist propaganda labeled all Jews as Zionists and called for the destruction of these Zionists. Antisemitism continues to persist to this day. Over the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in harassment, vandalism, and assaults aimed at Jewish men, women and children.
In 2015, as antisemitic violence escalated around the world, USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education responded by launching the Countering Antisemitism Through Testimony Program (CATT). This collection of testimony documents personal stories of antisemitism, from its often-subtle origins to its most violent consequences. These testimonies draw clear connections to more commonly recognized forms of hatred and help connect antisemitism with other forms of prejudice. To explore the collection, please visit https://vhaonline.usc.edu/biosearch/bioSearch (free account registration required) and choose “Interviewee (contemporary antisemitism).”
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USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education develops
empathy, understanding and respect through testimony, using its Visual History Archive of more than 55,000 video testimonies, academic programs and partnerships across USC and 170 universities, and award-winning IWitness education program. USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive programming, research and materials are accessed in museums and universities, cited by government leaders and NGOs, and taught in classrooms around the world. Now in its third decade, USC Shoah Foundation reaches millions of people on six continents from its home at the University of Southern California.
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