Theresa Zettl

Violence against Jews has been increasing in Europe for years. The phenomena, forms and manifestations vary in a large number of European countries and sometimes differ greatly from one another. A look at different European countries shows in which contexts anti-Semitism appears and how strongly this depends on historical and socio-political developments, but also how differently anti-Semitism is interpreted and instrumentalized. According to DW.online, Jewish representative in Brussels said, that many Jewish people are leaving Europe because they feel increasingly unsafe.

Widespread anti-Semitism throughout Europe

A study published by the Action and Protection Foundation and presented by the European Jewish Association (EJA), an alliance of Jewish communities and organizations, clearly shows that anti-Semitism is deep-rooted — and even increasing — in the European Union some 80 years after the Holocaust. It is a shocking statement. The study was based on a survey of 16,000 people in 16 EU member states conducted by the market research agency IPSOS. There are still plenty of anti-semitic prejudices in Europe, according to the new study – including global cabal conspiracy theories, blaming Jews for Christ’s crucifixion, and allegations about “dubious business practices.” On social media, I have also come across comments where anti-Semitists blame the jews for the Covid-19 pandemic. It is disgraceful.

According to the study, anti-semitic sentiment was strongest in Greece, Poland, Slovakia and Romania. The least prejudice was surveyed in Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. The authors of study publish, that most people in Greece, Poland and Austria have either strong or latently anti-semitic attitudes. The figure is 28% in Germany, while in Sweden and the Netherlands there is only 10% and 8% respectively. Given the historic background in Germany, Austria and Poland with Nazi Germany building concentration camps to exterminate Jews, I personally have no words, how people have either such a lack in historical knowledge or simply do not have any sense of empathy for their fellow humans and lack responsibility.

Jews leaving Europe – again.

France is the country with most Jewish citizens in Europe. Joel Mergui, who is head of the Jewish Central Consistory and representing all Jewish communities in France, reported that “The Jews are leaving Europe.” Given the fact, that nine out of 10 Jews in Europe see anti-Semitism as a serious problem, according to European Commission data, it is no surprise that Jewish people want to leave Europe. In France, Joel Mergui added, there were even zones in big cities that were no-go areas for Jews and that even the police is hardly setting foot in these abandoned zones.

What is the European Union’s reaction to this fact?

It plans to outlaw the trade in Nazi memorabilia and boost the fight against anti-semitic hate speech on the internet. But this is only an overdue first step. At present, not even all EU member states record anti-semitic attacks, never mind taking concrete measures to address the problem. Germany, where anti-semitic attacks are recorded, it was the country with the greatest number of violent anti-semitic attacks in the EU in 2020 — with 59 recorded cases. The dark number may be even more frightening though.

“Never again!”

“Never again” and “We remember” shall not be empty phrases used at Holocaust Remembrance Days. We all need to be aware that each one of us has the responsibility that this cruel chapter in the history book does not repeat itself – by standing up against any form of anti-Semitism.  

Author Profile

Theresa Zettl
Co-Founder of European Liberals for Reform
Chairperson of ELfR Working Group Health
ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee Member (2022-2023)

Social Media & Digital Marketing Expert, Blogger
Favorite Topics: Health, Society, LGBTQI
The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe
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The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.

Theresa Zettl


Co-Founder of European Liberals for Reform Chairperson of ELfR Working Group Health ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee Member (2022-2023) Social Media & Digital Marketing Expert, Blogger Favorite Topics: Health, Society, LGBTQI


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