“Today, there is hardly a country in the world, certainly not a single country in Europe, where Jews feel safe. It is hard to emphasize how serious this is, not just for Jews but for our shared humanity.”
A pre-Holocaust statement? Sadly, no. This comment was made by Rabbi Sacks in the UK on June 27.
The growth of anti-Semitism is worldwide and touches us all, in different ways. But I think that our shared reaction is shock and the question "Why?'
Two of our longtime supporters and volunteers recently wrote to us with a personal update and about anti-Semitism in the area they are now living. We would like to share their letter with you:
We have happened to move to Switzerland after our two years studying in Israel and volunteering with Machaseh. So we have now been living for a certain time in the Jura mountains near the French border and got to learn the story of this region during the Holocaust. French and Swiss righteous people were passing Jews and refugees from France to Switzerland. Some Swiss men were working as spies. Many information passed since 1942 to the allies thanks to this vast wild region of forest and rocks. This saved London-city and helped to organize the arriving of the Americans in Normandie.
Young French and Swiss women decided to take high risks to save Jewish children and families, coming even from the other side of France. These women worked with the Swiss spies and brought them the refugees. They had to climb in the cliffs and had to carry the bags, sometimes even the refugees and often the skis. The Swiss spies could sky about 8 hours a day and even happened to carry children in their backpacks, who had previously taken sleeping pills for the travelling. Many situations happened, like this young Jew from South of France who was found walking in the snow with his summer shoes and was saved by locals in the mountain.
The nets of the righteous ones were secret and after the war it wasn’t really talked about until the 90’ies, when Europe and America lifted the veil upon the Holocaust and honored the Holocaust Survivors and the righteous ones. This is due to the ambivalent relation of Europe and in this case of Switzerland towards the Jews. Before the very end of the war, several Righteous were arrested by the Nazis and some were deported and died. About 200 refugees were saved from 1942-1945 through one part of this vast Jura mountain where we established.
Today, the situation of antisemitism in France is so high that Jews are beginning to lose their flats and jobs because they are Jews. One day it might happen that persecution will increase so much that Jews will have to leave France in order to stay alive. In Jeremiah 16:16, it is written that after the fishers come the hunters, to bring the Jews back to their country: “And afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.” This verse is talking of a probably near future. Spiritual darkness is growing fast over our regions, with antisemitism and nationalism. Some believers are concerned and try to prepare, for example to focus on their spiritual and emotional health, in order to be strong enough when the time of persecution will come, so as to support the Jews passing through our regions.
Today, about 500.000 Jews are living in France, and some 200.000 want to move to Israel. They are preparing their alya (moving to Israel) and this takes some time (end of studies for the children and other ongoing projects). In Israel, the government is also preparing for them to arrive, which means probably a lot of building.
Let’s pray that the believers of the West will stay alive spiritually amidst this growing darkness and be capable of helping and saving Jews on their way to Israel, especially those of France as they are forming the biggest community in Western Europe. And once this community will be in Israel, people in Machaseh who like French will have improved this language enough so as to be able to assist some of them! Bonjour, enchanté, bienvenue!
With love and blessings from Jukka and Ingrid
To Ingrid on her completion of an
MA in Jewish studies from Hebrew University...