Elie Rosen had never really listened as a child when his grandparents told him and his cousins to keep their heads down. He knew they had survived the Holocaust but he believed the world’s vow of “never again” and saw no reason for his generation of European Jews to fear.
That changed when a man wielding a baseball bat came after him in front of his synagogue in Graz, Austria. The building had been repeatedly vandalized and while Rosen managed to reach his car and escape unharmed physically, he was shaken to his core.
“After the attack, those warnings of my grandparents had kind of a flashback,” he told CNN. “This made me very, very sorry and brought tears to my heart and to my face,” he said.
“Being physically attacked is a different dimension than being verbally attacked, which I am used to because anti-Semitism has risen in the last year.”
Violence and oppression against Jews and their faith has been a constant in Europe, but recorded incidents of anti-Semitism have been on an alarming rise, partly fueled by lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus.
In Rosen’s home of Austria, there has been the highest number of anti-Semitic attacks since the country started recor