The Guardian: I could never understand my grandmother’s sadness – until I learned her tragic story. “My French grandmother came to the US to escape the Nazis. What did a box of letters and photographs reveal about the sacrifice she made?” By Hadley Freeman.
“It is probably no coincidence that I finally committed in the shadow of the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election. Neither of these political shifts were about keeping out the Jews, but they were about keeping out immigrants, and the story of the Glasses was one of immigration, from Poland to France, and France to America. Alongside that, antisemitism was on the rise throughout Europe in a way I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, on both the right and the left. A 2018 survey found that one in five Europeans believe Jews have “too much influence in the media and politics”. In France, antisemitic acts rose by 74% between 2017-2018. As I was writing, furious arguments raged across British politics about antisemitism, particularly within the Labour party, where non-Jews on the left suddenly felt very comfortable telling Jews that they knew better what is and isn’t antisemitic. At the same time, reports of antisemitic acts in Britain rose every year as I worked on the book, culminating in 2019 with 1,805 incidents, the highest number in 35 years. Meanwhile, 41% of Americans now don’t even know what Auschwitz is. Reading these news stories quashed any concerns I had that writing about the past, or my family, was self-indulgent.”
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