BRUSSELS—“Jewish people should never again have to ask themselves whether they or their children have a future in the European Union,” declared First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and Věra Jourová—a Czech politician, businesswoman, lawyer and commission member—on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”).
Kristallnacht refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on Nov. 9-10, 1938. This wave of violence took place throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia occupied by German troop. Synagogues, homes and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.
Within a day, 91 Jews had been murdered, and between 20,000 and 30,000 arrested and sent to concentration camps.
In their statement, Timmermans and Jourová said: “They should never have to question whether the authorities will stand on their side to guarantee their safety.”
“Nobody should ever be afraid to go to a synagogue or wear a kipah in the European Union,” they added. “Today, as every day, the European Commission stands firm against all forms of anti-Semitism. We will continue to relentlessly fight prejudice and stereotypes in Europe, whomever it regards, and we will always defend people’s right to practice their religion, whichever it is, freely and without fear.”
The European Commission has a range of actions to combat anti-Semitism, such as monitoring how European legislation combating anti-Semitism is implemented, and guiding Member States on how to tackle anti-Semitic hate crime and hate speech.
In 2015, Timmermans and Jourová appointed a Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, to liaise with Jewish communities and strengthen the collaboration with international organizations, member states’ authorities and NGOs.
On Friday, the E.U. Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is to publish data from member states on anti-Semitic incidents.
It shows that the recording of such incidents is not always effective or comparable. This contributes to the under-reporting of the extent, nature and characteristics of Antisemitism that occurs in the E.U. today.
On Dec. 10, the FRA will present the results of a large survey on the experience and perception of the Jewish community of anti-Semitism in 13 countries in the E.U.
The current Austrian E.U. presidency is to publish before the end of the year a declaration on anti-Semitism and is keen to place security of Jewish premises high on the E.U. agenda.
The European Commission will hold its annual training session on the fight against anti-Semitism for commission staff.