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Then & Now - Could History Repeat Itself?

Then & Now: Could History Repeat Itself?

In the early 1930s, Germany's 500,000 Jews were well assimilated into German life. Loyal to their country, the Jews were economically successful and this success gave them a false sense of security. The German Jews believed that they were too important to German industry to be excluded from German life. But they were wrong. Hitler used the Jews' economic success against them, painting them as the greedy enemies of the German people and inciting the German people to commit acts of terror and violence against them. Ultimately, Hitler's anti-Jewish rhetoric led to the systematic murder of six million Jewish men, women and children in the Holocaust.

Today, many Jews in Europe and in the United States have again assimilated and feel secure in their economic and other successes. There is a sense to some that the Holocaust is in the past, and that Jews are too important a part of society to ever face the kind of hatred that led to the deaths of the six million. But like the German Jews of the 1930s, Jews today are wrong. Fueled by the recent financial crisis, there is an increasing tide of anti-Semitism building not only in Europe, but here in the United States. Once again, our economic success is being used against us. Arab leaders, including some like new Egyptian President Morsi, repeatedly engage in anti-Semitic propaganda. Moreover, in seeking to delegitimize the State of Israel, these Arab leaders repeatedly assert that the Holocaust was a lie created by Jews and the United States to justify the creation of our Jewish state. The scary truth is that many outside of the Arab world agree with this propaganda.

"Then and Now: Could History Repeat Itself?" uses video footage, photos and newspaper cartoons from the 1930s to depict some of the European anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust. It then juxtaposes those images with video footage, newspaper cartoons, and internet sources that demonstrate how history is repeating itself in frightening ways at the same time that those who seek to deny the Holocaust are gaining a larger audience. Most chilling perhaps are the screen shots of recent comments made online by viewers of a Hitler speech now available, with English subtitles, on YouTube. The point of the film is that not only is the Holocaust relevant today, but it is more important than ever that we never forget. The memories of the six million must be kept alive and with them the ever important lesson that we, as Jews, can never be complacent.
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