It's a tough truth to stomach, but antisemitism is on the rise. In 2021, 2,255 anti-Jewish hate incidents were reported across Britain — a 34% increase from 2020.
In light of such unpalatable statistics, Wiener Holocaust Library launches its latest exhibition, Fighting Antisemitism from Dreyfus to Today. Drawing on a vast collection documenting fascist and anti-fascist movements in Europe, the exhibition — opening 30 March — tells the story of the fight against antisemitism in Britain, Germany and France.
The starting point of the exhibition covers the Dreyfus Affair, in which a French-Jewish officer was wrongly convicted of espionage in 1894, and imprisoned in Devil's Island in French Guiana.
From here, the ongoing struggle against anti-semitism in Europe is documented, with the likes of the 'motorcycle album', a collection of photographs collated by Fritz Fürstenberg in 1935 during his travels across Germany on his motorbike, showing early evidence of the Nazis' widespread antisemitism.
Other exhibits in the show — which is free to visit — include rare historic pamphlets refuting antisemitic ideas; photos of anti-fascist rallies; and documentation relating to street fighting and infiltration of fascist groups in London, including at the Battle of Cable Street, and by the 43 Group — a collection of anti-fascist Jewish ex-servicemen and women, who began campaigning after the second world war.
Special talks accompany the exhibition, including one from historian Daniel Sonabend, who talks about his book We Fight Fascists: The 43 Group and their Forgotten Battle for Post-War Britain.
Fighting Antisemitism from Dreyfus to Today, Wiener Holocaust Library, free entry, 30 March-9 September 2022