Holocaust survivors call for an end to COVID-Holocaust comparisons

Holocaust trivialization has become increasingly mainstream among many politicians, grassroots movements, in the media, and online.

A Nazi-themed anti-vaccination placard is displayed during a demonstration this past week in Brussels against the Belgian government’s restrictions to contain the pandemic. (photo credit: JOHANNA GERON/REUTERS)
A Nazi-themed anti-vaccination placard is displayed during a demonstration this past week in Brussels against the Belgian government’s restrictions to contain the pandemic.
(photo credit: JOHANNA GERON/REUTERS)

Holocaust survivors have responded to a report by the Combat Antisemitism Movement that found more than 60 million online engagements linking pandemic-related issues with Holocaust terminology.

CAM, which released its report on January 5, tracks online posts comparing COVID-19 precautions and restrictions to the human rights abuses in the Holocaust that led to the deaths of over 12 million people, including more than six million Jews.

The demeaning comparisons, which have been tracked from January 2020 and are ongoing, feature messages such as that of Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson, who on January 12 tweeted an image of a Nazi-era health pass and compared it to Washington DC’s vaccine mandate.

Other examples in just the past two weeks include New York City Council member Vickie Paladino saying she did not “need to show you my papers, this is not Nazi Germany” during a news interview, and a Beit Shemesh McDonald’s customer posting a video on TikTok comparing the restaurant’s kiosk asking him for his vaccination status to the anti-Jewish policies of Nazi Germany.

“In the Holocaust, they wanted to exterminate the Jews. The ‘Green Pass’ exterminates Jews? That’s simply ridiculous. The comparison is so absurd, it is impossible to compare the Holocaust to anything. The Holocaust was unique, nothing is like the industrial-scale extermination of people in gas chambers,” said survivor Dita Kraus, 93.

 A person holds an anti-vaccination sign near the Houses of Parliament, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London, Britain, December 14, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE) A person holds an anti-vaccination sign near the Houses of Parliament, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London, Britain, December 14, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)

“Nothing compares to this, and nothing ever will.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, Holocaust trivialization has become increasingly mainstream among many politicians, grassroots movements, in the media and online. Often inflamed by politicians, protesters are marching in the streets of their cities, showing up at school board and city council meetings worldwide, and taking to social media platforms to voice their displeasure – which too often trivializes the suffering of Holocaust victims.

“Holocaust trivialization is a gateway to outright Holocaust denial, and we must act decisively against it. The fact that Holocaust survivors who are still with us must witness this is outrageous and unfortunate,” said International March of the Living president Phyllis Heideman.

“Those who compare the two do not understand deep enough, and do not know enough about the Holocaust, because there is nothing to compare,” said 84-year-old survivor Vera Grossman Kriegel, who was subjected to Dr. Joseph Mengele’s cruel medical experiments at Auschwitz, about comparisons linking Dr. Mengele to Dr. Anthony Fauci or Pfizer CEO Alberto Bourla – himself the son of Holocaust survivors.

“These were atrocities for which there are no words,” Kriegel declared. “In the Holocaust, they sought only to kill people, including with injections. Mengele gave us injections for experiments that did not value human life. We receive shots today to live, whereas in the Holocaust we received them to die.”