Hundreds March Against Anti-Semitism in Prague

Annual march to commemorate the Holocaust in Prague focuses on anti-Semitism amid rise in attacks.

Ben Ariel ,

Demonstration against anti-Semitism (illustration)
Demonstration against anti-Semitism (illustration)

Hundreds of people on Sunday joined a march to commemorate the Holocaust and against anti-Semitism in Prague, reports the Prague Post.

The march started in the Franz Kafka Square in the former Jewish quarter and culminated with a cultural program in the Wallenstein garden that surrounds the Senate building, the report said.

The event ended with a concert of Israeli jazz bands.

While walking through Prague, the crowd was singing, blowing trumpets and chanting slogans in support of Israel and Israelis.

Many participants carried Czech, Israeli and German flags. Students carried portraits of "disappeared neighbors," or fellow Jewish citizens from their native towns who died in the Holocaust.

In the Jan Palach Square, they stopped to commemorate the Holocaust victims. The Czech and the Israeli anthems were played, reported the Post.

During World War II, the Nazis established a Jewish ghetto in Theresienstadt, from where Jews were eventually deported to extermination camps.

The Prague ceremony continued with seven young people lighting symbolic candles in remembrance of the Holocaust victims.

In the Wallenstein garden, the rally was addressed by Holocaust survivors and by Israeli ambassador Gary Koren, Prague councilor Jan Wolf, Senate deputy chairman Přemysl Sobotka and Culture Minister Daniel Herman.

Meanwhile on Sunday, another ceremony was held in Germany, marking 70 years since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen near Berlin.

In that ceremony, Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned against racism and xenophobia, at saying Germany had an enduring responsibility not to forget its horrific past, which meant it must "stand against injustice, against any form of xenophobia and discrimination." 

He pointed to recent anti-foreigner attacks, cases of arson of refugee centers and anti-Islamic street protests as the number of asylum seekers rises sharply. A damning report published last week also that anti-Semitism has risen by 38% in Europe since 2013, with Germany as one of the top countries with a spike in anti-Semitic activity

In the wake of the ongoing anti-Semitism in Europe, France's prime minister announced last week that the government would pour 100 million euros into a major anti-racism and anti-Semitism action plan. The plan was devised in the aftermath of the deadly Paris jihadist attacks.