The term “antisemitism” has been used since the 19th century to describe hatred of Jewish people, however anti-Jewish sentiment has existed since antiquity. During the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, anti-Jewish laws existed throughout Europe. Violent attacks on Jews and Jewish communities (pogroms) were common, particularly in Eastern Europe.

Antisemitic thought found its way into nationalist political ideologies of the 19th century, which were frequently characterized by xenophobia. Antisemitism was explicitly codified in the racist agenda of the Nazi Party founded in 1919, and found its ultimate expression in the Holocaust.