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Editorial comment: Remember 1940s and fight hate

PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 January 2020

Antisemitic graffiti was sprayed on walls and doors in Hampstead on Saturday, December 28. Picture: IAN COHEN

Antisemitic graffiti was sprayed on walls and doors in Hampstead on Saturday, December 28. Picture: IAN COHEN

Ian Cohen

Holocaust Memorial Day is always important and poignant.

But after a string of disturbing incidents in Camden in recent months, it feels more vital than ever that we listen to the memories and experiences of those who escaped the Holocaust

Sadly, the horrific antisemitic graffiti spotted in Hampstead and Belsize on December 29 made very obvious the problem certain elements our society have with Jews.

Worryingly though, the graffiti is merely the most dramatic symptom of the disease of antisemitism.

In late November, an Jewish father was abused on the Tube in Camden because of his faith.

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Just this week a teenager was sentenced for setting an Jewish person's hair alight, in yet another stomach-churning incident.

The vile view that Jews are somehow any less worthy of respect or any less human than any of us is clearly entrenched and we must work incredibly hard to challenge this.

Many, if not most, Ham&High readers will already be acutely aware of this, but if not, this week is a good time to start doing just that.

In the spirit of remembering the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s - and those which occurred in Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia and Cambodia - pay attention to what those who lived through them say. These inspiring figures will not be around forever.

In the space to the right of this column you will find the remarkable story of Freddie Knoller who survived Auschwitz, among other horrors.

Next week, why don't you head along to South Hampstead Synagogue to hear Rabbi Levin mark the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust's end.

In these pages over Christmas we marked the honours given to a number of local Holocaust survivors. As we remember what was done to them, they should inspire us to be better, and to drive out this hatred for good.

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