Antisemitism and Conspiracy Theories in Times of Covid19
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Antisemitism in Germany never went away. During the Corona pandemic antisemitic conspiracy theories have only gained momentum and are increasingly carried into the public sphere. This antisemitic hate speech creates violence, even before the pandemic: between 2017 and 2019 alone, the number of annual acts of antisemitic violence in Germany doubled. To protect and strengthen fair and equal democracy, we must act – and take decisive action against old and new forms of antisemitism.
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Sawsan Chebli is Representative of the State of Berlin to the Federal Government and State Secretary for Civic Engagement and International Affairs. Not only professionally, but also in her private life, she has been an advocate for an open society and against racism and misanthropy for years. She studied political science at the Free University of Berlin, graduated in 2004, and made politics her profession, among other things as a policy officer for intercultural affairs in the Senate Department for the Interior and Sports and as a deputy spokesperson in the Foreign Office.
At the intersection of science and society, Pia Lamberty explores why people believe in conspiracies and what consequences this worldview entails. In May 2020, the psychologist published the non-fiction book “Fake Facts – Wie Verschwörungstheorien unser Denken bestimmen” (Fake Facts – How Conspiracy Theories Determine Our Thinking) together with Katharina Nocun, which made it onto the Spiegel bestseller list. Lamberty is co-executive director at the Center for Monitoring, Analysis and Strategy (CeMAS). Her research has taken her to the universities of Cologne, Mainz and Beer Sheva (Israel).
Laura Franken is a leader of the Her.Tietz Initiative. She works as a Project Manager for a private sector sustainability network. Her work focuses on issues in the fields of Business & Human Rights as well as Sustainable Finance. She studied Public Policy at the Hertie School and Political Science at the Freie Universiät Berlin and at SciencesPo Paris. She is an alumna of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.
Mirko Bode has been working as a volunteer consultant for “Der goldene Aluhut” against conspiracy theories for several years. The NGO awards its annual negative prize to the best (or worst) conspiracy theorists in order to counter this danger with attitude, humor and education. Mirko Bode knows the effects of conspiracy narratives from his own environment and numerous conversations with affected relatives of conspiracy believers.
Albrecht Raible looks at conspiracy theories and their effects from a historical perspective. At the University of Tübingen, he also researches the international dimension of such myths in comparison with the USA. In this context, he is interested in their significance for an increasing fragmentation of the public sphere, the formation of opinion bubbles, and the spatial and social separation of different opinion camps.
Laura Cazés works as Head of Communication and Digitalization for the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST). As a speaker and author, her fields of expertise are the diverse realities of Jewish life in Germany, the inclusion of Jewish perspectives into societal discourses, and the development of innovative concepts for and with Jewish communities.
About the Tietz Lecture on Addressing Antisemitism
The annual lecture series is named after the Jewish merchant Oscar Tietz, founder of the department store chain “Hermann Tietz” (the name of which was later changed to “Hertie”). In the 1930s, the Nazis forced the Tietz family out of their company through a series of antisemitic repressions. The Her.Tietz Initiative wants to keep the family’s memory alive.
About the Her.Tietz Initiative
The organizer of the Tietz Lecture on Addressing Antisemitism is the Her.Tietz Initiative, a volunteer group of students and alumni of the Hertie School – supported by more than 150 active and former members of institutions funded by the non-profit Hertie Foundation. The initiative advocates for an open and responsible approach to Hertie’s Nazi history, for active commemoration of the victims of the Shoah, and for combating the rise of anti-Semitism today.
The Hertie School in Berlin is funded by the Hertie Foundation. The assets of the Hertie Foundation emerged from the Hertie department store chain. During the Nazi era, the Tietz family was forced out of their business by anti-Semitic repression and the company, which was then still called Hermann Tietz, was “Aryanized”. Her.Tietz is committed to openly dealing with the “Aryanization” of the Hermann Tietz company and the anti-Semitic repressions against the Tietz family. We are also dedicated to addressing the anti-Semitism that exists in Germany today and to explore ways to combat it. We are supported by the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” and the non-governmental organization “Humanity in Action”.