European Jews respond to refugee crisis | what were reading

Europe continues to face a humanitarian crisis as refugees from the war in Syria flood the continent only to face inhumane policies and conditions.

Some say refugees are being treated in ways reminiscent of the Holocaust — and Jewish communities across Europe are responding.

There was outcry from Jewish and human rights groups this week after news that officials in the Czech Republic wrote numbers with felt-tipped markers on the skin of migrants “pulled off trains,” reports The New York Times.

The president of the Rome Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, said, “It is an image we cannot bear, which recalls to mind the procedure at the entrance of Nazi extermination camps,” according to JTA.

As quoted in The Guardian, the U.K.’s former chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, said that “Britain needs to make a bold gesture similar to Kindertransport to help address the humanitarian crisis engulfing Europe,” referring to British efforts to smuggle Jewish children out of continental Europe during World War II.

Aid agency World Jewish Relief described the situation as “the greatest refugee crisis [in Europe] since the Second World War,” London’s Jewish Chronicle reports.

As quoted in the Chronicle, British legislator Luciana Berger, described as “Britain’s youngest Jewish MP,” said that her nation’s response to the crisis “has failed to live up to Britain’s historic role as a country that offers asylum to those fleeing persecution and death.

At the other end of the spectrum is Hungary and Bulgaria, which according to JTA are “looking into Israeli-designed fences to keep refugees from crossing their borders.”

Rabbi Lord Sacks, former U.K. chief rabbi, on BBC Newsnight about the European refugee crisis:

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the digital editor of J. He can be reached at [email protected].