Torch procession in Budapest
Photo: Roni Cohen
Ceremony in Budapest
Photo: Roni Cohen
Jewish communities in Europe began to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, to be held in Israel on Tuesday. Some of the ceremonies held throughout Europe were accompanied by anti-Semitic protests.
A torch procession held in Budapest was secured by large police forces due to protests held by local residents. "There is an extreme right-wing party here in Budapest that officially works against foreigners and unofficially against Jews," Jewish Agency and Bnei Akiva envoy Amit Davidson told Ynet.
He said supporters of the party carried pro-Palestinian signs reading: 'Palestinian holocaust'. "You feel far from home, like you are a foreigner," he said. "Everyone here has mixed emotions."
In Norway a ceremony planned by Bnei Akiva and the Jewish community is scheduled to take place Monday evening, during the course of which participants will meet with a Norwegian Holocaust survivor who escaped to Sweden during the war.
Jewish Agency and Bnei Akiva envoy Deborah Geldman says anti-Semitism can be felt in Norway as well. "People here are afraid to walk around with Jewish or Israeli symbols, and Jewish children are constantly harassed. During the Gaza war I didn't even dare to speak Hebrew outside the community," she said.
A ceremony is also planned to take place in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Monday evening, during which Jewish children will read out names of residents who perished during the Holocaust.
In addition, Bnei Akiva have launched a pro-Israel public relations campaign following the imminent UN racism conference in Geneva, shunned by Israel, the US and a number of other Western countries.
Members of the movement will tie blue and white ribbons on cars, bags, buildings, and synagogues throughout the world, to symbolize unity with Israel until its 61st anniversary in 10 days.