Background & Historical Context
The Jewish people have had a long historical presence in Europe, dating back over 2,000 years. Over this period, they were subjected to discrimination, limited rights, confined to designated neighbourhoods, and subjected to violent attacks. They were the outsiders, who did not fit in to the established social order and who refused to follow the religious observances of the majority of the population. At various times and places, this led to hostility, distrust and even jealousy, sometimes culminating in very dangerous situations that forced Jewish communities to be displaced. This section provides an introduction to some of the problems and hardships faced by the Jews of Europe, long before the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
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