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Yad Vashems reaction to reported statements by the Berlin Secret Police

23 April 2002

Yad Vashem has discovered that it was the Secret Police in Berlin and not the Berlin Police who made the statement regarding Berlin’s Jews. The statement – reported by Galei Tzahal - did not specifically advise Berlin’s Jews to refrain from wearing, in public, garments identifying themselves as Jews, as this would clearly offend the city’s Jewish residents, but recommended that Jews demonstrate caution. This statement was made while relating to the security of the city’s Jews.

Yad Vashem is still of the opinion that despite the good intentions of the Secret Police this statement points to a mistaken and problematic way of thinking: instead of confronting the problem and fighting antisemitism, the suggestion is that this problem can be solved by refraining from the display of identifiable Jewish symbols.

In reaction to this report Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, stated that three factors have contributed to the current wave of antisemitism: the rise of the antisemitic and fascist right wing, the new and widespread Islamic hatred, and the fanatic anti-Israel left.

“The fundamental problem today is that European politicians and government bodies are not confronting this wave of antisemitism. The first victims of this phenomenon are the Jews, but its clear that those same politicians and government bodies as well as their citizens will be the next victims. One of the results of this non - confrontation is the high percentage of support for Le Pen in France’s Presidential Primaries, and this should alert the nations of Europe to the fact that their unwillingness to vigorously fight the problem will endanger themselves,” he added.