Demonstrators in the German city of Nuremberg have been facing criticism for using Nazi-era symbols, including a yellow Star of David badge worn by Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII, to protest restrictions in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Nürnberger Nachrichten, a daily in the Nuremberg-Erlangen-Fürth area.
Instead of the German word for 'Jew' as used during the Holocaust, demonstrators replaced the term with the slogan "Vaccination Makes You Free" at protests in Franconia, prompting the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior to express their concerns and issue new guides on avoiding Nazi-era symbolism.
The report noted that some of the protesters held signs with the comparison that "2020 = 1933," in reference to Hitler and the Nazi Party's rise to power, suggesting that the current restrictions on social gatherings is akin to the Nazi era.
In response to the use of Nazi-era imagery, the Bavarian Ministry of Justice Department Head Georg Eisenreich (CSU) said that "With such actions, the infection control measures of the federal and state governments are unbearably compared to National Socialism and the Shoah, and even equated to them."
Eisenreich added that "There is no place in Bavaria for antisemitism." He noted that his government is currently working to investigate them meaning of some symbols to determine whether they are antisemitic, saying that "these can be codes or anniversaries are important for neo-Nazis."
The use of Nazi-era symbols comes amid a rising number of hate crimes perpetrated against Jews in Germany, including 300 antisemitic incidents alone in Bavaria in 2019. Currently, 81 criminal hate speech cases have been opened for antisemitic online posts in the German state.