WASHINGTON (JTA) — Volkswagen is joining with the Anti-Defamation League to fund a Berlin-based office that will research and combat anti-Semitism in Europe.
“The initiative will focus on assessing the root causes of anti-Semitism, extremism, and bigotry in society and develop programs to counter it through advocacy and education,” ADL said in a release Tuesday.
A spokesman for the German car manufacturing giant told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Berlin office will be the first ADL presence in Europe in more than a decade. The funding, over the three years, is set to be in the low seven figures, the official said, with an option to expand and continue the initiative thereafter.
Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Group, the largest car manufacturer in the world, announced the bid Monday at the ADL’s annual Washington conference. In an interview with JTA, he said he was concerned about the recent spike in anti-Semitism in Europe, and that Volkswagen had a special obligation to combat racism because of its origins in Nazi Germany.
“We have more obligation than others,” he said. “The whole company was built up by the Nazi regime.”
The initiative will have four components: education in schools, education in workplaces, lobbying in European capitals and research through surveys.
“The generous support of dedicated companies like Volkswagen who share our values and stand behind our mission provides added strength to our common cause,” saidthe ADL’s CEO and national director, Jonathan Greenblatt.