Dr Efraim Zuroff, the Chief Nazi Hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he said that he believes anti-vaccination protesters who wear yellow Stars of David are trivialising the Holocaust.
Much of the rhetoric that has emerged from anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists has compared lockdowns to the Holocaust. These crude and inflammatory comparisons have included protesters donning yellow stars bearing the word “Unvaccinated”, a comparison that has been made across the world, including in the United Kingdom, Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere.
Such symbolism is reminiscent of the kind of insignia Jews in Germany and occupied Europe were forced to wear by the Nazis. Those wearing such items in 2021 do so in order to compare the persecution of the Jewish people with protective measures sanctioned by governments and other administrative bodies in order to deal with the pandemic. Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.
“It’s Holocaust trivialisation,” Dr Zuroff said. “In other words, to, in a sense, turn the Holocaust into a far more trivial event than it was in fact.”
He continued: “It’s very ironic but in a certain sense, I have to say that there’s a small silver lining here which goes to prove the success of the people who have devoted their lives to promoting Holocaust education, Holocaust research, Holocaust commemoration. In other words, the Holocaust has become the ultimate tragedy, and that’s why everyone who has a cause wants to connect that cause or to claim that it’s similar to the Holocaust…related to the Holocaust, because that’s the most effective tool.”
However, Dr Zuroff went on to lament the negative effect that wearing the yellow star has on the Holocaust.
“It’s a horrible thing because it basically turns the Holocaust into something much, much more minor than it actually was.”
Throughout the interview, Dr Zuroff touched upon a wide variety of topics which included highlights from his storied career, the details of ongoing trials of alleged Nazi war criminals, and explained the difference between Holocaust denial and distortion.
Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox. Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, The Sunday Telegraph columnist Zoe Strimpel and actor Eddie Marsan.