Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, on Sunday lashed out at anti-mask protesters who compared themselves to Nazi victims, accusing them of belittling them. Disaster and “scoffed at” the courage shown by resistance fighters.
The rant came after a young woman took the stage in protest against coronavirus restrictions in Hanover on Saturday saying she felt “like Sophie Scholl”, a German student executed by the Nazis in 1943 for her role in the resistance.
The video of the speech has been viewed more than 1 million times on social media, with many condemning the speaker sharply.
“Anyone today who compares themselves to Sophie Scholl or Anne Frank is scoffing at the courage it took to fight the Nazis,” Maas tweeted.
“It belittles the Holocaust and shows an irresistible history. There is nothing to link the corona protests to resistance fighters. There is no!”
In the clip, a waitress is seen interrupting a woman on stage to hand over a high-visibility orange vest, saying her words amount to “minimizing the Holocaust”.
“I don’t work as security for such nonsense,” he said before being escorted away.
The young woman, who identified herself as 22-year-old Jana, then burst into tears before dropping her microphone and leaving the stage.
In another incident last week, an 11-year-old girl gave a speech at an anti-mask demonstration in the western city of Karlsruhe, likening herself to the Jewish teenager Anne Frank because she had to celebrate her birthday in secret to avoid neighbors hearing that they had done it. invite friends.
Frank, whose diary was written while hiding in the Netherlands had been read by millions, died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
The comparisons sparked outrage, with Karlsruhe police calling them “inappropriate and tasteless”.
Germany has long prided itself on facing its Nazi past and recognizing “eternal responsibility” for the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed.
However, the far-right AfD party has in recent years challenged the culture of remembering Germany, with senior figures publicly calling on the country to stop atoning Nazi crimes.
Government measures put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus have sparked massive protests in Germany, attracting people from the left, conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists who claim the restrictions violate their civil rights.
Several hundred people gathered in Berlin on Sunday for another protest, a smaller than expected turnout.
German restaurants, bars, recreation and cultural centers have been ordered to close during November to stop the rapid rise in infections, while schools and shops have been allowed to remain open.
With the number of cases still hovering at record highs, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states are expected to extend the shutdown or announce tougher measures at a meeting on Wednesday.
“We did not come as far as we wanted,” Merkel told reporters on Sunday. “We definitely have more to do” to bring the pandemic under control, he added.
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