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Holocaust survivor shocked by surge of anti-Semitic threats
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By Andrea Peyser
March 3, 2017

Holocaust survivor shocked by surge of anti-Semitic threats

In her small, defiant way, Inge Auerbacher defeated the Nazis just by surviving. But now, it’s Kristallnacht all over again.

Deported from her native Germany to a concentration camp in then-Czechoslovakia at age 7, Auer­bacher is a living punch in the teeth to her Third Reich tormentors. But she can’t wrap her mind around the recent epidemic of bomb threats and grave desecrations directed at people — because they’re Jewish.

“It’s like a stab in your heart all over again. It’s horrible, horrible!’’ Auerbacher, 82, told me.

Recent events brought her back to Kristallnacht — “the Night of Broken Glass’’ — the grotesque hours in which Nazi sadists unleashed violence against Jews throughout the Reich in 1938, shortly before she turned 4 years old. It left lasting psychic scars.

“We don’t take [the recent threats] too seriously — yet,’’ she said. “Of course, we didn’t back then, either.”

She added, “How can this be happening in the United States? It’s shameful!’’

More than 100 bomb threats have been leveled at Jewish community centers and day schools across America and in Canada since January, and Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated — attacks that have drawn investigations by the FBI, but no arrests.

All sorts of bias crimes have increased in number. In Kansas, a white man allegedly shot dead an Indian man and wounded two others last month after, witnesses said, he shouted, “Get out of my country.’’ Yet attacks against Jews — verbal, property-based or physical assaults — far outnumber all religiously based crimes, according to FBI statistics. This demonstrates that despite the tremendous attention given affronts to members of other groups, Jews have targets on their backs.

The wave of terror has struck New York City. Police sources told The Post Wednesday that Jew-bashing graffiti and anti-Muslim mail has been found throughout the city, including a swastika etched into a wall inside a Brooklyn courtroom (now covered by a Post-it note), and anti-Jewish scrawls on a Queens sidewalk, a Penn Station wall and a church on the Upper West Side.

And someone proclaiming him or herself “Muslim slayer” sent a letter declaring, “I fantasize about killing non-whites” to an employee at a Muslim cultural center in Brooklyn on Tuesday, according to police sources.

All told, reports of bias offenses in the city have increased by 55 percent this year through Feb. 26 compared with a similar period last year. But anti-Semitic hate crimes are up an incredible 94 percent.

This happened on Long Island: at 11:05 a.m. Monday: A bomb threat was phoned in to the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview, prompting police to evacuate some 400 people, from tots to senior citizens and about 125 staffers, for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Rick Lewis, 49, a father of three teenagers and chief executive officer of the JCC, told me he was “saddened and disappointed’’ — but he won’t be cowed.

“Not only do I have my own children, I feel responsible for all the children here during the day,’’ he said.

A sweep turned up no explosives. Though there have been reports that some frightened parents have yanked kids from Jewish schools and centers, Lewis said that all his charges were in place the next day. Good for them.

Authorities don’t know if the threats, often made with robotic-sounding voices, are the work of a single person or group, or if some have been made by sick copycats. There’s been suspicion that at least some calls may come from overseas. But the truth is that acts of anti-Semitism have appeared all over the world for as long as Jews have existed, despite allegations from the left that President Trump — who belatedly condemned bias attacks during his address before Congress Tuesday — is enabling hate crimes.

Offenses against Jews and Jewish institutions surged in 2015 nationwide, continuing a trend that for years has made Jews the No. 1 targets of religion-bashers. Yet previous presidential administrations have escaped blame.

After languishing in the camp for three years, Auerbacher moved to the US with her parents after World War II — they were among the 1 percent who survived the camp. She became a naturalized American citizen and worked as a chemist. The Queens resident, who never got married or had children, is an author who has traveled around the world, including to Germany, spreading a message of peace and reconciliation — but never forgiveness of the Nazis — as a public speaker.

I have no doubt that acts of anti-Semitism will continue, as will all hate crimes. But the fiends committing these atrocities must be brought to justice, and quickly. The voices of the dead cry out for it.

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