The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum in Oswicim, Poland, has criticized a recent tweet by Republican Ohio Representative Warren Davidson.
Davidson’s tweet compared Washington DC’s new district-wide vaccination entry requirement to Nazi policy requiring citizens to show documents. The Auschwitz Memorial described his tweet as a symptom of “intellectual decay”.
On Tuesday morning, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a tweet reminding residents of the district to publicly provide proof of vaccination. Amid a spike in local COVID-19 cases, Bowser issued an order requiring residents to provide proof of vaccination to gain access to indoor facilities throughout the district. This order is effective from January 15.
In response to Bowser’s tweet, Davidson wrote, “This has been done before. #DoNotComply”. His tweet was accompanied by an image of a Nazi-era document known as the Gesundhitspass. The German word is translated as “health pass”.
In the late 1930s, Nazi authorities required citizens to carry a health pass as one of several documents proving their identity and registration with the government. These document requirements were used to oppress Jews and others, subject them to arrest, rather than to keep them indoors and out in public.
In response to Davidson’s tweet, the Auschwitz Memorial tagged his account in a public message directed towards him and published Wednesday morning.
“The tragedy of all who suffered between 1933–45 was humiliated, tortured and murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany in a debate about the limits of vaccines and COVID in a time of global pandemic, which is moral and intellectual.” A sad symptom of decay,” the monument wrote.
The Auschwitz Memorial is a holocaust remembrance museum and mourning site where Auschwitz, the notoriously deadly and brutal Nazi concentration camp, once stood.
Conservative and right-wing figures have repeatedly compared COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements to Nazi-era persecution methods.
Such comparisons have been discouraged by other Jewish and Holocaust remembrance organizations. Organizations think the comparison is about 6 million European Jews and other marginalized people killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust, which took place from 1941 to 1945. Such comparisons encourage violence against politicians, vaccination activists and mandate enforcers, the groups say.
On May 28, 2021, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum published an open letter signed by 50 Holocaust survivors urging politicians to stop making comparisons between modern social conditions and the Holocaust.
“We also see with great dismay a continuing and growing trend in American public life to invoke the Holocaust in order to promote another agenda,” the letter said.
“It is deeply 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 – exploited in this way,” it continued. “What we survived should be remembered, studied, and learned, but never misused.”
Comparisons between COVID-19 prevention measures and Nazi-era policies are “beyond both historically incorrect and unconscious”, said Jewish community advocates Robert Treston and Becca Rausch in November 2021 for local NPR station WGBH in Boston. Wrote in a commentary.
Such comparisons perpetuate lies about the Holocaust, “distort history, despise the memories of victims and survivors, and sensitize people to the monstrous atrocities committed,” he wrote.