Let’s start with a little history.

The Treaty of Versailles ended the First World War - historians now agree that its terms were probably too harsh on Germany, which unlike at the end of the Second World War, had not been militarily decimated.

Out of that treaty grew the idea in Germany, which then faced severe economic hardship, that the country had been betrayed. It had been betrayed by the great powers at Versailles, by its own political leaders but most of all by German business leaders which soon morphed into ‘betrayed by the Jews’. On the back of this betrayal narrative Adolf Hitler rose to power and the rest, is as they say, history.

So what’s this got to do with Brighton and Britain today?

Last week Sussex University marked Holocaust Memorial Day. A packed Attenborough Centre heard the moving testimony of holocaust survivor, Hungarian-born Susan Pollock. This sprightly 88-year-old told the audience how she remembered being packed into a cattle truck for six days and at the end of the journey watching her mother being taken away to be gassed.

Whilst listening to Susan’s description of Hitler’s rise to power I was troubled as to why I kept feeling that there were disturbing similarities between the atmosphere then and now.

And the answer was Brexit and betrayal – those two interlinked themes keep recurring.

The theme of the Sussex event was The Power of Words and before Susan the gathering heard from the International Lawyer Phillipe Sands who reminded the audience that words represented ideas and ideas can be powerful.

One idea that has dominated our relationship with the European Union has been that Britain has always stood alone - that the other EU members have always ganged up on us. Is it a coincidence that currently two of the most popular recent films have been Dunkirk and Darkest Hour, the Churchillian drama about wartime Britain?

This theme has never been so strong as now – the idea that during the Brexit negotiations the other 27 are doing everything in their power to deny us a fair deal. But it’s not just Brussels and the 27 who are ‘betraying’ us, there are others closer to home.

There were the judges, when they ruled that the final decision about leaving should be taken by Parliament; then we were being ‘betrayed’ by the wily civil servants who were secretly undermining the Brexit negotiations; then betrayal by those ministers and MPs who favour a soft Brexit over a hard one and finally by the BBC – always the BBC - who have allegedly been favouring the Remainers (which incidentally is not how the Remainers see it).

The day after the Sussex event, with the memory of Susan Pollock’s witness testimony still fresh in my mind I was shocked to see the Daily Telegraph’s front page about another Hungarian of Jewish origin, George Soros, who was out to “thwart” Brexit.

Soros, as some will recall, is the man who made millions by betting against the pound some years back. But he is also the man who has given away £25 billion, yes billion, of his own money to support organisations that work to “...build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people”.

The Telegraph wrote about him after he had given £400,000 to the organisation campaigning for a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal. In a democracy campaigning for and against polices is not only legitimate but is an essential component. But this article talked about “a secret plot to thwart Brexit” and to add fuel to the betrayal fire, it was being funded by a foreign-born financier - words likely to send a chill down the spines of those who recalled Hitler on the eve of war saying: “If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed once more in plunging the nations into a world war, then the result will… [Be] the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”

No one is suggesting that the Telegraph was being deliberately anti-Semitic – but its headline would have had an uncomfortable resonance for many of its Jewish readers.

This language of ‘betrayal’ has been echoing around the Brexit debate ever since the referendum. And just as it is not foolish to support the Leave side, so it is not betrayal to argue against it. A vote was taken and a decision made – but that happens at every general election and no one says to the defeated side ‘give up your idea of ever forming a government’, nor is there talk of betrayal when they continue to fight for power.

Words are powerful and bad words can lead to bad ideas which can lead to disaster.

We must all take care.

Ivor Gaber is Professor of Political Journalism at the University of Sussex