Tel Aviv, 20 January 2022 (dpa/MIA) – The United Nations General Assembly adopted a historic resolution against the denial and trivialization of the Holocaust, 80 years after the Wannsee Conference.
The text, introduced by Israel and Germany, was adopted unanimously in New York on Thursday. Among other things, the document calls on countries and tech companies to actively combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the resolution in a joint statement.
“We are very concerned by the dramatic increase in Holocaust denial, distortion and revisionism,” they said. “We carry an obligation to remember, to learn and to challenge the growth of Holocaust revisionism, denial and distortion both on and offline.”
At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, senior Nazi officials discussed the systematic murder of up to 11 million Jews in Europe. The meeting sought to speed up the implementation of the genocide, and is considered one of the key dates in the history of the Holocaust.
Holocaust survivors also condemned the constant comparison of measures taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic with the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
In a report published on Thursday, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) documented the growing online trivialization of the Holocaust over the past two years, identifying over 60 million comments linking measures taken to fight the pandemic with Holocaust terminology.
Making light of the Holocaust is increasingly part of mainstream discourse, the CAM report said. “Often fuelled by politicians, protesters march through the streets of their cities wearing yellow Stars of David,” it writes.
Politicians in Europe, the US and even Israel have compared Covid restrictions to Nazi crimes against the Jews, something that plays into the hands of Holocaust deniers, according to CAM chair Sacha Roytman Dratwa. He called on policymakers and internet giants to “take this alarming trend seriously.”
“The trivialization of Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity fuels Holocaust deniers who seek to downplay Nazi transgressions and allowing it to flourish unchecked has created safe spaces for anti-Semitic conspiracies, outright Holocaust denial, and other extremist ideologies to spread,” Roytman Dratwa said.
“These comparisons have opened a gateway for the revival of age-old anti-Semitic conspiracies including blaming Jews for the pandemic as purveyors of disease and accusing Jews of a vast conspiracy for global control through mandates.”
Holocaust survivor Vera Grossman Kriegel, who was subject to cruel human experiments as a child by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, said she found comparisons between Mengele and vaccination advocates “deeply disturbing,” adding: “Today we get injections to live, during the Holocaust we got them to die.”
Dita Kraus, 93, another Holocaust survivor, expressed similar sentiments. “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. Nothing compares to this, and nothing ever will.”
International March of the Living President Phyllis Heideman said, “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.”
Posts on social media, news websites and various other forums in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and Hebrew were examined for the study. The vast majority of the comparisons, some 57 million, were written in English, with 2.6 million posts in Hebrew coming in a distant second.
The report was compiled as part of CAM’s global campaign against Holocaust trivialization, in partnership with the International March of the Living, an organization that brings people from around the world to Poland and Israel to learn first hand about the Holocaust.