Anti-Semitism is not a new trend, nor is it particularly unique to any location. Any minority group that can challenge a perceived social order is immediately categorized as villainy and treated by the public at large as such. The European relationship to its Jewish community has participated in extreme measures to discredit and to undermine this religious group through multiple campaigns of violence. A Specter Haunting Europe examines the Soviet relationship with the concurrent rises of anti-Semitism and Communism and how a changing political order can lead to extreme violence and prejudice.
The division between pre- and post-WWII explains the foundation for the explosion of anti-Semitism. The Nazi propaganda campaigns espoused and validated a dangerous rhetoric that while had existed for centuries prior (one can refer to the Spanish Inquisition as a classical example), however the rise of Communism was seen as a global threat and the scapegoat for this threat was redirected not to the politicians at work who solidified these regime changes, but a conspiracy theory convinced that the Jewish European populations placed their unwavering support behind communism. Even prior to the aforementioned Nazi campaign, series of pogroms across Russia amounted to 250,000 Jewish deaths. Referred to as “Judeo-Bolshevism,” this myth has decided through a series of convoluted and misguided attempts at understanding a rapidly changing world order that Jewish people created Communism for world domination. Christianity acts as a vessel of paranoia – seemingly, since the Roman era when Christianity was illegal, every other group acts as an existential threat for the purpose of dismantling Christianity at its core. The introduction of Communism as its group state removed the foundation for individualism and subsequently raised the question concerning the ability for Christianity to continue. The Soviet Union became symbolic of something that Germany could “fix” for the purpose of maintaining the status quo and restoring order.
Fears of change are often misguided albeit legitimate. People grow used to a series of social norms and when a way of life is threatened, regress into violence for maintenance. This article addresses how these fears were met (callous and xenophobic violence), however there are questions to be asked about how these systemic notions of the Jewish conspiracy and their role in contemporary European politics.