Tell us in a few words about yourself.
My name is Adam Cohen. I am a 27-year-old Jewish educator from London and have also spent time teaching in Sydney. I have experienced eight extremely powerful trips to Poland and learnt about how the Holocaust stemmed from the most virulent form of antisemitism ever espoused.
If you have experienced antisemitism in your country, how was it expressed?
On one trip to Poland, our group was walking through the streets of Warsaw when a man approached and started hurling antisemitic abuse in our direction. Our security guard was thankfully alert to the situation and wrestled the man to the ground before he could confront us physically. This was enough to persuade the man to walk back in the direction he had come, whilst repeatedly looking back at us and continuing to launch his verbal tirades.
What do you feel is the most productive way to fight hate?
It is not a coincidence that the world’s most well-known social experiments were inspired by the events of the Holocaust. The Asch Conformity Experiment teaches young people the risks of conformity. The Milgram Experiment teaches young people to be aware of the extent that their peers can shape their actions and the Stanford Prison Experiment teaches young people that having power over others can bring out negative aspects of themselves that they did not know existed. Only through ensuring that young people have increased awareness of these timeless societal issues can we fight hate and witness positive change in society.
What message would you like to relay to young Jews throughout the world who are worried about antisemitism?
Use your concerns as motivation to play a lead role, either as an individual or as part of a larger organization, in combating antisemitism and all forms of hatred and bigotry that exist in today’s society.
What message do you have for those marching in the “March of the living?”
Increased identity fluidity has led to a greater emphasis on individuality than ever before. Yet, each one of you attending March of the Living highlights that the innate human desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves remains strong. As you learn more about the darkest chapter in Jewish history, you will no doubt strengthen your Jewish identity in the process and sense what it means to be an individual that belongs to the most resilient collective in the history of humanity.