The Fight Against Antisemitism Goes On - As This New Exhibition Shows

The Fight Against Antisemitism Goes On - As This New Exhibition Shows
Protests against the work of antisemite and Holocaust denier David Irving, likely in relation to his employment by The Sunday Times, c. 1992. Courtesy of CST.

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.

Miss Ann Broost giving a talk at an anti-fascist protest in Ridley Road, 1948. Courtesy of the Community Security Trust.
'Mosley is a Traitor' graffiti in Hereford Street, Bethnal Green, 1948. Courtesy of the Community Security Trust.

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.

Pamphlet published by the Independent Labour Party after the Battle of Cable Street, 1936. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.
Pamphlet by Szmul Zygielbojm documenting reports of Nazi atrocities in Poland, September 1943. Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.

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.

An Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX) speaker, c. late 1940s. Courtesy of the Community Security Trust.
After the Nazis' accession to power in 1933, protests were held in Britain. The Defence Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews collected articles. WHL Collections

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-18 September 2022 (extended from 9 September)

Last Updated 07 September 2022

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