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This article was published 28/1/2015 (2191 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BRZEZINKA, Poland -- A Jewish leader stood before 300 survivors of the Nazis' most notorious death camp Tuesday and asked world leaders to prevent another Auschwitz, warning of a rise of anti-Semitism that has made many Jews fearful of walking the streets and is causing many to flee Europe.
Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, made his bleak assessment on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, speaking next to the gate and the railroad tracks that marked the last journey for more than a million people murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
He said his speech was shaped by the recent terrorist attacks in France that targeted Jews and newspaper satirists.
"For a time, we thought that the hatred of Jews had finally been eradicated. But slowly, the demonization of Jews started to come back," Lauder said. "Once again, young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes on the streets of Paris and Budapest and London. Once again, Jewish businesses are targeted. And once again, Jewish families are fleeing Europe."
A recent attack in Paris, in which four Jews were killed in a kosher supermarket, is not the only deadly attack on Jews in recent years. Last May, a shooting killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. In 2012, a rabbi and three children were murdered in the French city of Toulouse. Europe also saw a spasm of anti-Semitism last summer during the war in Gaza, with protests in Paris turning violent and other hostility across the continent.
"This vilification of Israel, the only Jewish state on Earth, quickly became an opportunity to attack Jews," Lauder said. "Much of this came from the Middle East, but it has found fertile ground throughout the world."
One Holocaust survivor, Roman Kent, pleaded for world leaders to remember the atrocities and fight for tolerance. "We do not want our past to be our children's future," the 85-year-old said to applause, fighting back tears.
The commemorations in Poland, which was under Nazi occupation during the Second World War, were also marked by a melancholy awareness it will be the last major anniversary a significant number of survivors will be strong enough to attend.
-- The Associated Press