Katharina von Schnurbein
|European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life|
|Assumed office |
|President||Ursula von der Leyen|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Born||1973 (age 49–50)|
Bavaria, West Germany
Baronesse Katharina von Schnurbein (born 1973) is a German civil servant who has served as the European Commission's coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life since 2015. She is the first person to hold this role, which reports to Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas under his portfolio of European Commissioner for Promoting our European Way of Life.
Von Schnurbein was born in the German state of Bavaria in 1973. Despite not being Jewish, her parents emphasized the responsibility that Germans had toward Jews and were ardent supporters of Israel.
Von Schnurbein completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science and Slavonic Studies at Charles University in Prague and at the University of Bonn. She earned a master's degree in Slavonic Studies from Oxford University in 1997 and a master's degree in European Studies from the Center for European Integration Studies in Bonn in 1999.
Von Schnurbein is married and has four children.
European Commission career
Von Schnurbein began her career at the European Union in 2002 as a press officer for the EU Delegation in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2004, she transferred to Brussels to be the spokesperson for European Commissioner for Employment, Sociaal Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimir Špidla. From 2010 to 2015, she coordinated the European Commission’s dialogue with churches, religions, philosophical and non-confessional organizations, as well as think tanks in Germany, as an advisor to President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.
In October 2015, the EC created the new Antisemitism coordinator position in response to rising Antisemitism in Europe. As a career EC bureaucrat, Von Schnurbein was appointed by then First Vice-President Frans Timmermans for the position in December 2015.
Her key responsibilities are to liaise with European Jewish communities and bodies and to propose and implement policies to address Antisemitism, promote Holocaust education, and foster Jewish life.
In 2022, von Schnurbein argued that Belgian bans on ritual slaughter risked painting the Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe as "medieval". In response, von Schnurbein convened the first joint meeting between European Jewish and Muslim leaders and EU officials to discuss slaughter based on religious rules in the light of Freedom of Religion.
At an event hosted by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations in 2023, von Schnurbein stressed the importance of cracking down on disinformation on social media platforms in the struggle against antisemitism. Noting that this was especially commonplace during the Covid-19 pandemic, conspiracy theories are catalysts for bigotry against Jews; “Where conspiracy grows, antisemitism has already grown.”
- Marietta and Friedrich Torberg Medaon Medal, from the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG)
- Human Rights Prize, B'nai B'rith Europe
- Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize, Conference of the European Rabbis
- Top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life (2020), the Algemeiner
- Liphshiz, Cnaan (18 June 2019). "This mother of 4 is the EU's 'indefatigable heroine' in the fight against anti-Semitism". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 20 March 2023. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- "Katharina von Schnurbein CV" (PDF). European Commission. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 March 2023. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- Sirkus, Thomas (27 January 2016). "Q&A: EU Anti-Semitism Envoy Katharina von Schnurbein". Moment. Archived from the original on 26 March 2023. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- Junger, Rifka (23 December 2018). "Interview with Ms. Katharina von Schnurbein, European Coordinator on Combating Anti-Semitism". Hamodia. Archived from the original on 20 March 2023. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- Wax, Eddy (27 January 2022). "Top EU official: Religious slaughter bans paint Jews, Muslims as 'medieval'". Politico Europe. Archived from the original on 20 March 2023. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- Liphshiz, Cnaan (21 October 2022). "In a first, EU invites Jews and Muslims to stand up for kosher and halal slaughter amid local bans". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 21 March 2023. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
- "New forms of antisemitism are a threat - European Commission". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
- "Katharina von Schnurbein". Algemeiner. Archived from the original on 21 March 2023. Retrieved 21 March 2023.