German Chancellor Angela Merkel directly addressed contemporary anti-Semitism during the opening of an exhibition on the night of Monday, January 25.
The unique exhibition, titled Art from the Holocaust, was opened to the public at the German Historical Museum in the nation’s capital at an event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The exhibition, initiated by the German national newspaper BILD and supported by the German National Bank, features 100 works created in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust by 50 Jewish prisoners, 24 of whom perished in the camps.
“The exhibition, jointly curated by Yad Vashem and the German Foundation for Art and Culture, is the first-ever art exhibition of its size and stature that Yad Vashem has sent abroad,” Yad Vashem spokesperson Simmy Allen told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Chancellor Merkel admitted in her speech that anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise and she expressed great concern.
“Anti-Semitism today is actually far more widespread than we would like to think. We must work against it with intensity,” said Merkel during her speech at the museum.
A recent poll conducted by the World Zionist Organization suggests that over 40% of Europeans hold anti-Semitic beliefs and shows a 73% increase in violent attacks motivated by anti-Semitism on Jews in Europe.
According to reports in Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, the Jewish community in Germany has expressed concerns that the rise in anti-Semitism is linked with the influx of Muslim immigrants, a concern Merkel also addressed.
“These concerns should not be taken lightly. It is important to educate young people, especially those who come from countries where the hatred of Jews is prevalent, in order to combat antisemitism,” Merkel said.