One in three EU citizens sees anti-Semitism in its growing environment, according to a study commissioned by the Commission. In the Jewish population it is even 90 percent.
About one in three European citizens, according to a study, perceives an increase in anti-semitism in their country, but in the Jewish population the proportion is much higher. This is shown by a Eurobarometer survey published in Brussels on Tuesday. "Unfortunately, anti-Semitism still raises its ugly head across Europe," said European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová said: "No one should fear visiting a synagogue in the EU or wearing a kippah". January 27th is the International Holocaust Memorial Day.
The general sentiment of EU citizens differs significantly from that of the Jewish population. This is evidenced by a comparison between the new survey and an investigation of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, which interviewed the Jewish population in twelve EU countries in December. According to the study, 36% of the total population perceives a growing anti-Semitism, compared to 90% of Jews.
Aware of anti-Semitism, it is not the same everywhere
Jourová emphasized that the awareness of anti-Semitism was greater in countries where large Jewish communities lived, including Germany. There, many people would have had Jewish friends or there would be attacks on the Jewish community, referring to the media. In Germany, 61% of the population perceives a growing anti-Semitism, in Sweden it is even 73%.
In principle, every second citizen of the EU (50 percent) considers anti-semitism a problem in his country. In some countries the awareness of anti-Semitism is much higher, even in Germany. Here, two thirds of the population (66%) see anti-Semitism as a problem, in France even 72% and in Sweden 81%. Throughout the EU, one in two respondents believe that denying the Holocaust is a problem in their country.
Lack of knowledge of Jewish history
Often the survey lacks knowledge of Jewish history and customs. Two out of three EU citizens stated that the population was not very well informed (52 percent) or not at all (16 percent). In Germany, ignorance is even greater. Here, three out of four respondents said that people are not very good (61%) or not at all informed (13%). 23% of Germans even think that Holocaust denial is not punishable in the Federal Republic.
According to Jourovás' opinion, this ignorance is due to the lack of education. "Education is not only the key to understanding the Holocaust as an abyss of humanity, but also to increase the awareness of anti-Semitism and how it is still alive in Europe today," he said. At EU level, 42% of citizens believe that the Holocaust is not sufficiently taught at school. In Germany, it is 36 percent.
The interior ministers of the EU states adopted a declaration on the fight against anti-Semitism in December. Among other things, they demand better protection for Jewish communities and institutions.