Smallpox or Chickenpox?: Anglo-Jewry, Communal Security, and the Outbreak of Antisemitism, 1960–1962
The desecration of the Cologne synagogue, on Christmas Eve 1959, sparked a significant wave of antisemitic attacks in over thirty countries. In Britain some 160 incidents were seen in the early part of 1960. In 1962 organized fascism underwent a renaissance in Britain with the advent of Colin Jordan’s National Socialist movement. The Anglo-Jewish community was deeply divided on how best to respond to these two periods of communal threat. Some argued inaction and reliance on the gentile authorities, others urged greater communal defense, while a third group contended that these latest bouts of Jew-hatred underlined the veracity of the Zionist claim that the Diaspora, and Europe in particular, remained decidedly unsafe and that only in Israel was there a Jewish future. The clash among these three responses tells us much about the impact of both the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel on the identity and psyche of postwar Anglo-Jewry.
Keywords: Anglo-Jewry, antisemitism, racism, swastika, Zionism
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