As a nine-year old boy in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany, my Jewish friends and I climbed over dead bodies in the bitter cold as we awaited our fate at the hands of the Nazis. Anne Frank and her family were in Bergen Belsen at the same time. I was one of the lucky ones who got out. Ms. Frank famously did not.

Even at 83 years old, I have a heightened sensitivity to the shibboleths of anti-Semitism. After hearing so much lately about the newly-reformed Saudi Arabia, I was recently shaken when I read about Saudi-sponsored internet posts describing the founder of and the richest man in the world as “The Jew, Jeff Bezos.”

My reaction, aside from revulsion, was a common one by Jews of my generation: Who knew that Bezos was Jewish? As it turns out, he’s not, but the powers that be in Saudi Arabia saw some advantage in identifying him as such. Presumably they didn’t like how The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, was investigating their country’s human rights abuses.

I found it unnerving to find that tweets like this were being heavily promoted on Twitter and Facebook: “We as Saudis will never accept to be attacked by The Washington Post in the morning, only to buy products from Amazon and by night! Strange that all three companies are owned by the same Jew who attacks us by day, and sells us products by night!”

A related post included the term “filth” to describe Bezos.

Anti-semitic campaigns have historically been anchored in two devices. The first is dehumanization – characterizing Jews as lower forms of life deserving of elimination. Or, “filth.” The idea is to encourage the larger population to grow comfortable with isolating the dangerous outsider. “Jew” becomes a synonym for “enemy.”

Another method of differentiating Jews lands at the opposite end of the organic hierarchy: positioning Jews as being all-powerful and in control of the major institutions in our daily lives, mainly commerce and media. Bezos may not be technically Jewish, but his vast success with Amazon and his ownership of the influential Washington Post make him a crypto-Jew worthy of the derision and fear associated with actual Jews.

Liberal financier George Soros has endured similar characterization in multiple media, simultaneously identified as both a finance-controlling Jew and, yes, a Nazi collaborator. The charges of Soros’ alleged Nazi collaboration have since been debunked.

As a Holocaust survivor who still retains faith in humanity, I would have thought by now that anti-semitism would have greatly receded. But anti-semitic incidents increased by 60 percent in 2017 according to the Anti-Defamation League. In France alone, attacks on Jewish people and institutions were up 74 percent in 2018 according to the Wall Street Journal. A Polish newspaper recently ran a headline that read: “How To Recognize a Jew,” adding, “How to defeat them. This cannot go on.”

I have no illusions at this stage in my life about my power alone to fight bigotry. The best I can do is tell my story in the time that I have left, commemorate the victims of anti-Semitism through public awareness and the creation of memorials — and speak loudly when I see ominous signs on the horizon. What begins with the rhetoric of conspiracy and dehumanization ends in subjugation and violence.

That rich and powerful men like Bezos are tagged with the Star of David does not mean that only the mighty are vulnerable. That’s always where hate begins: With the swindle that only the powerful are villains so that the rest of us let our guards down.

The willful targeting of Bezos by the Saudis with impunity gives me both fear and hope. I am fearful because hatred is still alive in our supposedly enlightened age — and I have borne witness to where hatred can end after a seemingly harmless beginning. I am hopeful because if anyone can help draw attention to this scourge, it is a man with Mr. Bezos’ resources and resolve.

Emil Fish is the Founder and President of the Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee and serves as a member of the United States Commission to the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. He spends his time between Philadelphia and Los Angeles.