Today is 76 years on from the liberation of Auschwitz, and the day that the global Jewish community comes together to remember the 6 million Jews who were murdered. This day is not just about commemoration, but also about looking back and learning the lessons from this time to make sure it never happens again.
As a 23 year old North West London Jew, I feel privileged to have grown up in a community where I experienced very little antisemitism, and today the antisemitism I have witnessed is mainly online and not directed to me. We will never fully understand what happened during the Holocaust, what it felt like to everyday live in fear that this could be the day you are sent away, you are shot, could today be the last day you get to see your family. The feeling of constantly asking why me? Why does me being Jewish make me a target? We will never fully understand the torture and terror the victims of the Holocaust went through.
What we can do is learn, listen and educate each other to ensure it never happens again. We need to come together as Jewish students to combat antisemitism. We can’t keep leaving it to someone else to deal with, it is our responsibility and duty to our ancestors to tackle racism. It isn’t easy standing up for what you believe in, because if it was everyone would do it, but there are simple things we can do to tackle antisemitism. How many times do you see online an antisemitic tweet or meme? Do you ever report it, or do you assume someone else is? What if everyone made that assumption, then it would never be reported. Have you ever been told ‘well you don’t look Jewish’, do you respond with laughter or do you question it? These are some of the little things we can do to raise awareness of this ignorance and educate people about what antisemitism is.
This year has been like no other, in every possible way, and the last thing I expected was not being able to visit campuses go to J-Soc events. Though our Jewish students have adapted and are still putting on events and bringing their community together. Especially for Holocaust Memorial Day we have seen J-Socs hosting a variety of events, both commemorative and educational. I find it inspirational to see these events and want to say thank you to all those involved in sharing the message of Holocaust Memorial Day.
If there is one thing to take away from all of this, its that we must not be complacent when it comes to racism. We must speak out against injustice and discrimination. We are the future leaders of this country and it is up to us to shape it to be an inclusive community for all.