Wednesday, 31 October 2018 19:35

FRANCE – Students make Holocaust-related insults against their Jewish classmate

Medicine students of Paris 13 University have mocked the Holocaust, insulted one of their Jewish classmates, and created a Facebook group where Jewish students were classified with a grade and a comment. This is France's media monitoring highlight for October.

This article part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of October, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

europe1Date of publication: The story was reported by Europe1 on 29 October 2018

Media Outlet: Facebook

Author: Students at the School of Medicine,  Paris 13 University


Description of the antisemitic content:  In a private Facebook group, some Medicine students of Paris 13 University have mocked the Holocaust and insulted one of their Jewish classmates, Rose (fictional name). Initially, the students made antisemitic jokes in front of Rose: they ridiculed the Holocaust, made Nazi salutes, and invented a game they called “freespa” (contraction of Frisbee and kippah). When Rose pointed out the inappropriateness of their statements and said she felt humiliated, her classmates responded that it was just humour. A couple of weeks later, Rose found out that in a private Facebook group, the same students continued ridiculing the Holocaust and her. They proposed orientation weekend names using her surname, Bob, and Holocaust references: “Bob Auschwitz 2018”, “Bob-round-up 2018”, and “Nazi against Jews” with pictures of a Jewish student burning in a fire. Other posts classified the University's Jewish students with a comment and a grade, such as “Jew level 31, involved but able to be with goys?” or “Jew level 75, standing 4, ready for anything for her community”.

Myth debunked: The reason why Rose told her story to Europe1 reporters is not revenge, but to “denounce this trivialisation of antisemitism under the guise of humour”. Anti-Jewish jokes or Holocaust-themed mockery are not harmless fun. They create unsafe places, they humiliate, and they cause offence and distress. Antisemitism can take many forms and does not encompass only conspiracy theories and hateful insults. Banter and taunts on a horrific event such as the Holocaust, especially if done to humiliate Jews, are antisemitic and have a real impact on the life of people. Paris 13 University has started an inquiry over the incident and stated that they do not tolerate racist and antisemitic acts. But this is not an isolated case, Jewish student representatives have been voicing their concern at widespread incidents in France’s campuses for years.

More to read:

It’s time to call out campus anti-Semitism by both the left and the right


Humor In The Holocaust? Documentary Explores Where Comedy Draws The Line

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