Hate in Halle

Yesterday, Jews gathered across the world to mark Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

As Jews prayed in a synagogue in Halle, Germany, a heavily armed gunman attempted to break down the door. On his live feed, broadcast across the world, he proudly said he was a Holocaust denier and that the root of the world’s problems were Jews.

Yesterday was another reminder of the fragility of the world we live in and the stark reality of where hatred against Jews can ultimately lead. The gunman live-streamed his attack to inspire others to do the same.

In the past few years alone antisemitism has risen across the globe. Those who seek to downplay antisemitism in the UK and elsewhere have claimed that security at synagogues was only there because “Zionists” want to “exploit and generate the fear of antisemitism”. Without security at the synagogue in Halle, the death toll almost certainly would have been much higher.

At our Appeal Dinner on Monday, we talked about the febrile times in which we live, where radical discourse had seemingly entered the mainstream. 72 hours later, we have been given the most awful reminder.

I feel ashamed that Holocaust survivors who witnessed the very depth of depravity have to witness such hatred today.

As we said on Monday, we will redouble our efforts to fulfil the example that Holocaust survivors have set to understand the lessons of man’s darkest time and to tackle the scourge of antisemitism that has scarred this world for too long. Sadly, yesterday, we were reminded why.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those in Halle.

With best wishes,

Karen Pollock MBE