A first-of-its-kind comprehensive survey (PDF) on anti-Semitic trends in Europe has found that more than three-quarters of Jewish respondents said they believe anti-Semitism is on the rise in their home countries. Nearly a third said they have “seriously considered emigrating” because they do not feel safe.
The report, released Friday by the European Union's Agency for Fundamental Rights, was timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in Nazi Germany. Kristallnacht, also known as the "Night of Broken Glass," refers to the outbreak of violent anti-Jewish pogroms that launched throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on Nov. 9, 1938.
Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of broken glass that littered the streets in the wake of violent attacks against Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues.
The Agency for Fundamental Rights surveyed 5,847 self-identified Jews in eight European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
It said its findings aim to provide guidance for policymakers and law enforcement on measures to take against anti-Semitism.
The survey, conducted online during September and October 2012, examined respondents' opinions about anti-Semitic trends, their personal encounters with anti-Semitism and concerns that they or their loved ones could become victims of an anti-Semitic attack.
The impact of anti-Semitism on respondents’ daily behavior and their feelings of safety were also examined.
While the report does not explain the causes of the perceived increase in discrimination, it does mention a widespread fear of anti-Semitism on the Internet.
Two-thirds of all respondents considered anti-Semitism to be a problem across the eight countries surveyed, and 76 percent said they believe that anti-Semitism has increased in their home countries over the past five years.
Twenty-nine percent said they had considered emigrating because of concerns about safety, with particularly high figures recorded in Hungary (48 percent), France (46 percent) and Belgium (40 percent).
One British respondent said, “I feel worried about anti-Semitism now in a way that I did not 30 years ago. Something that should have disappeared from social acceptability is instead becoming stronger."
When asked how respondents define anti-Semitism, 34 percent indicated that their definition of an anti-Semite applied to “a non-Jewish person if he or she criticizes Israel.” An estimated 90 percent said that people who did not consider Jewish citizens of their country as compatriots were anti-Semitic.
One-third of the respondents reported that they had experienced some form of anti-Semitic harassment in the five years before the survey; 26 percent said they had encountered such harassment in the 12 months before the survey.
Of the five forms of harassment listed, offensive comments in person were the most widespread. Almost one in five respondents had experienced such comments at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey.
More than half (64 percent) of those who had experienced physical attacks said they did not report these incidents because they considered doing so ineffective.
"EU Member States should ... address the underreporting of hate crime by, for example, providing relevant training to law enforcement authorities concerning victim support and systematic recording of incidents," the report recommended.
Fear of anti-Semitic violence is grounded in a number of recent events across Europe. The Jewish community in Hungary has been targeted in several violent incidents. In Malmo, Sweden, a series of attacks culminated in the bombing of a Jewish community center in September 2012. And in March 2012, a gunman murdered four people at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Amel Ahmed contributed to this report.