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SA

Cape board brings anti-hate campaign to corridors of government

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JORDAN MOSHE

Marked annually on 27 January, the day commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet forces who unearthed the untold horrors it contained. Together with Cape Town city councillors, the board unveiled a series of mosaics made by Herzlia High School students which depict the Neue Synagogue in Berlin attacked on Kristallnacht in 1937.

The ceremony is part of the Cape board’s “No Place for Hate” campaign, which aims to educate people about the destructiveness of hate and intolerance. “We want the city of Cape Town to understand that there is no place for discrimination of any kind,” says Cape Board Director Stuart Diamond.

“Together with the city’s elected leadership, we want to highlight the power of connection, which is possible only through the elimination of hatred. The mosaic project is literally right outside the council chambers, and we hope this will encourage [leaders] and their visitors to pose the difficult questions, and address issues surrounding hate.

Guest of honour at the event was 96-year-old Miriam Kleinebscht, a Holocaust survivor and refugee who fled to South Africa. Recalling fondly the West German coal mining village of Bochum in which she had grown up, she spoke of a community of 1 152 Jews who had been living there since 1349, and its first synagogue, built in 1594.

Tragically, this beautiful heritage was violently lost with the rise of Nazi oppression.

Kleinebscht described her family’s relief at eventually finding refuge in South Africa when she was just 13

Much to the horror of her and her family, their South African haven would witness the rise of the Nationalist government and its apartheid policies about 10 years later, scarily replicating the Nazi laws. Ending her speech with a loud and resounding message, Kleinebscht said, “On this, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we must acknowledge the past both in Germany and South Africa, and say, ‘Never again!’”

Rael Kaimowitz, the Chairperson of the Cape Board, stressed how vital it was that we remember that past. “What begins with Jews, doesn’t end with Jews,” he said.

History shows that when there is an increase in anti-Semitism, there is an increase in prejudice against other minority communities, including Islamophobia.

With racism on the rise in South Africa, this is an important reminder. There should be no place for hate in this country.”

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