Racism is a relic of the past or a real problem nowadays?
9th November 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the ‘Kristallnacht’ pogrom in 1938 in Germany and Austria, turning the discrimination against Jews that started in 1933 to a systematic persecution, which culminated in the Holocaust merely three years later.
Fascism, however, did not cease to exist after 8th May 1945. Today, racist, fascist and Neo-Nazi movements are on the rise all over Europe. Neo-Nazis hunt and assault migrants, Muslims, Jews, Roma, LGBTQ-activists, people living with disabilities and other minorities, using rallies as a cover-up for their hate-crimes.
Since the early 1990s, UNITED for Intercultural Action has organised and inspired annual pan-European antiracist activities on 9 November. This date has several reasons, firstly, to commemorate victims of the “Kristallnacht” pogrom and, more broadly, victims of the Holocaust and of fascism throughout history. Secondly, to raise awareness about the danger of racism, anti-semitism, right-wing extremism and neo-fascism today. The third main reason is to mobilise different groups and individuals to build a common front against xenophobia, intolerance, hate and violence.
The European Parliament is concerned by the increasing normalisation of fascism, racism and xenophobia and calls on EU member states to ban neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups.
- The name “Kristallnacht” (“Crystal Night”) was obtained in connection with the many broken windows of shops and shopping places. The occasion was the revenge for the murder of a German diplomat E. Rath by a Polish Jew, who committed an act of vengeance for the expulsion of his parents from Germany.
- One of the largest manifestations of xenophobia was the apartheid regime in the Republic of South Africa. It was implemented by official policy that supported separated life of white and black people. For combating this phenomenon, Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
To know more about the history of antisemitism you can take the online course developed by Yad Vashem, the world holocaust remembrance center. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antisemitism
For a short history of fascism click here