The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum in Oswiecim, Poland has criticized a recent tweet by Republican Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio.
Davidson’s tweet compared the new district-wide vaccination requirement in Washington DC to Nazi policy requiring citizens to show documents. The Auschwitz Memorial called his tweet a symptom of “intellectual decay.”
On Tuesday morning, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted to remind district residents to carry proof of vaccination in public. Amid a spike in local COVID-19 casesBowser issued an order requiring residents to provide proof of vaccination to access indoor facilities throughout the district. The order takes effect on January 15.
Responding to Bowser’s tweet, Davidson wrote, “This has been done before. #DoNotComply”. Attached to his tweet was an image of a Nazi-era document known as a Gesundheitspass. The German word translates as ‘health pass’.
In the late 1930s, Nazi officials demanded that citizens carry the health pass as one of several documents proving their identity and government registration. These document requirements were used to oppress Jews and others, keep them housebound and subject to arrest rather than in public.
In response to Davidson’s tweet, the Auschwitz Memorial tagged his account in a public message addressed to him and published Wednesday morning.
“Harnessing the tragedy of all the people who suffered, between 1933 and 1945, were humiliated, tortured and murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany in a debate over vaccines and covid restrictions in the time of a global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay,” the monument wrote.
The Auschwitz Memorial is a Holocaust memorial museum and funeral home on the site of Auschwitz, the notoriously deadly and brutal Nazi concentration camp.
Conservatives and right-wing figures have repeatedly compared vaccination and mask requirements for COVID-19 to Nazi-era suppression methods.
Such comparisons have been discouraged by other Jewish and Holocaust memorial organizations. The organizations believe the comparisons minimize the roughly 6 million European Jews and other marginalized people killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust, which took place from 1941 to 1945. Such comparisons also encourage violence against politicians, vaccine workers and mandate enforcers, the groups say.
On May 28, 2021, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum published an open letter, signed by 50 Holocaust survivors, calling on politicians to stop making comparisons between modern social conditions and the Holocaust.
“We also see with great horror a continued and increasing tendency in American public life to invoke the Holocaust with the aim of promoting a different agenda,” the letter said.
“It is very painful for us to see our personal history – the systematic destruction of our families and communities and the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children – being exploited in this way,” it continued. “What we have survived should be remembered, studied and learned, but should never be abused.”
Comparisons between COVID-19 prevention measures and Nazi-era policies are “both historically inaccurate and unreasonable,” Jewish community advocates Robert Trestan and Becca Rausch wrote in a November 2021 commentary for WGBH, the local NPR station. from Boston.
Such comparisons perpetuate lies about the Holocaust, “twist history, downplay the memories of victims and survivors, and desensitize people to the monstrous atrocities that have taken place,” they wrote.