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Steven Spielberg warns 'overt' anti-Semitism in U.S. as bad as 1930s Nazi Germany

"Not since Germany in the '30s have I witnessed anti-Semitism no longer lurking," he said.

Published: March 5, 2023 8:32am

Updated: March 5, 2023 10:53am

Director Steven Spielberg warned that "overt" anti-Semitism in the United States mirrors that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, leading up to the systematic extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust. 

"I find it very, very surprising," Spielberg told late-night host Stephen Colbert in an interview aired Friday.

"Anti-Semitism has always been there," he said. "It's either been just around the corner and slightly out of sight but always lurking, or it has been much more overt like in Germany in the '30s."

Spielberg lost relatives in the Holocaust and used his profits from the film "Schindler's List" to form the non-profit Shoah Foundation to document Holocaust survivors' testimonies.

"But not since Germany in the '30s have I witnessed anti-Semitism no longer lurking, but standing proud with hands on hips like Hitler and Mussolini, kind of daring us to defy it," he warned in "The Late Show" interview. "I've never experienced this in my entire life, especially in this country.

"Somehow in 2014, 2015, 2016, hate became a kind of membership to a club that has gotten more members than I ever thought was possible in America," he said. "And hate and anti-Semitism go hand in hand; you can't separate one from the other." 

His comments come as multiple major celebrities have been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. Meanwhile, a survey from the Anti-Defamation League earlier this year found that the number of Americans harboring anti-Semitic sentiments has nearly doubled since 2019 to 20%, reaching its highest point in decades.

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