In commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the European Students’ Union (ESU) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) stand together to honour the memory of 6 million Jews and 5 million other victims of the Holocaust, including Roma and Sinti, persons with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ persons, among other groups persecuted, and to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. The Shoah and Holocaust serves as a sobering lesson of the destructive power of hate, violent extremism, fascism, and antisemitism. If we truly believe in ‘Never Again’, we must stand together and speak out against antisemitic, violent extremist, fascist, and other discriminatory tendencies wherever, and whenever they appear, that have been rising dramatically in recent years. Our pledge to “never be indifferent” stems from the Polish-Jewish Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski, who details that with indifference, we will fail to keep our “never again” promise.
The hateful narratives which prevail both online and offline everyday, are clearly against the values which underpin our democracies and European society. All forms of violent extremism, including antisemitism and its manifestations, contradict fundamental values as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Only through education, awareness-raising, and strong political condemnation, can violent extremism and hateful narratives, including antisemitism, be erased from everyday life.
Historically, European universities played a crucial role in fostering hate and the systematic discrimination of Jews and other marginalised groups in the past. Still today, and especially in recent months, we have seen an appalling rise in antisemitism on European campuses. Universities are supposed to foster an environment that promotes respectful discussion and learning. They have a special responsibility to ensure that all people, especially those in minority groups, feel safe and included on and off campuses. Hateful narratives and actions impede Jewish students from partaking in university life and academia. Therefore, we need to oppose all forms of extremism, including antisemitism, standing in solidarity with Jewish students and standing up for Jewish spaces.
January 27th reminds us of the importance of never being indifferent. To this end, the European Students’ Union and the European Union of Jewish Students call upon the academic community to ensure that Jewish students can enjoy higher education safely and to tackle the ever-growing antisemitism that too prevails in higher education.
#WeRemember Learn From The Past. Protect The Future.