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Fighting anti-Semitism remains challenge 80 years after genocidal Wannsee Conference

Historians, lawmakers and advocacy groups say antisemitism remains a global problem in the wake of the Jan. 15 hostage-taking standoff at a Texas synagogue — and 80 years since Nazi leaders conspired to launch the Holocaust.

“We know that antisemitism, including violent antisemitism, did not end in 1945,” said Edna Friedberg, a historian for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “We witnessed it in the terror at a Texas synagogue. Holocaust history reminds us of the terrible dangers of unchecked antisemitism and our collective responsibility to confront it before it becomes violent.”

Rep. Chris Smith, New Jersey Republican and co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, said “antisemitism [is] exploding in the United States and around the world” and cited “Wannsee, where top-ranking Nazis plotted a ‘Final Solution’ for Europe’s Jews.”

Mr. Smith and others marked the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference: On Jan. 20, 1942, 15 high-ranking Nazis, led by German Security Service Gen. Reinhard Heydrich, met at a villa in the Wannsee district of Berlin to implement Adolf Hitler’s desire for a “Jew-free” Third Reich. The resulting plans led to the extermination of more than 6 million men, women and children as the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

“The Wannsee Conference was a deadly turning point in Nazi Germany’s campaign against Europe’s Jews,” the Holocaust museum’s Ms. Friedberg said. “After this meeting — held at a picturesque lakeside villa — the full resources of the German state were mobilized for genocide.”

Read More: The Washington Times