German vaccine protests using Holocaust symbolism

There is a growing use of Nazi and Holocaust symbolism in protests taking place in Germany against COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines.

The Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA) reported that at a demonstration last week in Leipzig, posters and banners were displayed that “contained largely conspiratorial ideology and anti-Semitic content but also relativizing the Shoah.”

At least one of the participants is said to have worn a Star of David on his jacket with the word “Not vaccinated.” Another had the words “2021 is the new 1933” on his shirt.

“Other examples … were the equation of vaccines with Zyklon B by former AfD politician Stefan Bauer, Attila Hildmann’s statements that Judaism was responsible for the pandemic and all the evil in the world and that a new Holocaust was imminent, and neo- Nazi Sven Liebich posing with a copy of Anne Frank’s Diary at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, ”the JFDA told German news channel Tagesschau.

The Leipzig rally, as well as other recent demonstrations in Berlin, Kassel and Stuttgart that brought together tens of thousands of people, were organized by the Lateral Thinking (Querdenken) movement. The spectrum ranges from citizens wanting to point out the importance of the fundamental right of assembly to anti-vaccination fanatics, general skeptics of the state, and conspiracy theorists.

Polish-born Mordechai Fox, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, wears a yellow Star of David on his jacket during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day (credit: REUTERS)

The JFDA noted the radicalization of the “lateral thinking” movement which was reflected in the aggressive and heated atmosphere during the Leipzig protest. The representatives of the press were insulted and the police officers attacked the barriers.

“Right-wing extremists, as well as the ‘Reichsbürger’ and ‘self-governors’, are also trying to take advantage of the COVID crisis and are participating in the corresponding demonstrations,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said of the movement. .

“We are just beginning to understand how dangerous anti-Semitism is. We must fight all anti-Semitism in any setting, “said Anetta Kahane, president of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, in a press release.

“I note with great concern that in the meantime the charge of anti-Semitism outweighs anti-Semitism itself. This is an expression of a growing defensive attitude. “

The foundation says it wants to strengthen civil society in Germany against anti-Semitism (also in the form of anti-Zionism), racism and right-wing extremism.

The writer is a member of the Ernst Cramer & Teddy Kollek / Middle East Fellowships.

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