If you ignore the cringe-worthy opening line of this article from the Pew Research Center – the Holocaust did far worse than “decimate” Europe’s Jewish population – you will find some interesting facts. In a nutshell, Europe’s Jewish population continues to decline. There are now approximately 1.4 million Jews living in Europe, compared to 9.5 million in 1939. Only 10 percent of the world’s Jews now live in Europe, and a mere 0.2 percent of Europeans are Jewish.
And apparently, Europe’s Jewish population will only continue to decline. Thousands of French Jews, for example, are emigrating each year, most commonly to Israel.
A Europe without Jews would be almost without precedent; the continent has played host to Jewish communities for millennia. It would also be an immeasurably poorer place, in myriad ways. We’re talking about the culture that produced Kafka, Freud, and Stefan Zweig – in addition to the bagel.
The recent horrifying uptick in murderous anti-Semitism (contra our glib president, it was not a “random” “bunch of folks” who were targeted at that grocery store in Paris) by radical Islamists may contribute to the fulfillment of Hitler’s vision of a Europe “free” of Jews. (It’s striking, when you visit most major European cities today, that you can identify a synagogue or Jewish school by the presence of police or even soldiers in front.) You don’t have to be Jewish to recognize this tragedy.