March 24, 2021
CALGARY – B’nai Brith Canada is disgusted and concerned by a number of recent incidents in which the memory of the Holocaust has been tarnished by COVID-19 protestors, particularly in Calgary.
At a “Walk for Freedom” held in Calgary on Sunday, some attendees posed with a yellow Star of David that read: “Mask Exempt.” During the Holocaust, Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David in order to ostracize them from broader society and eventually designate them for murder. Jews had been compelled to wear similar symbols as a sign of their inferior legal status in Medieval Europe.
The previous day, a Calgary Herald columnist had compared the prospect of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination to the conviction of Nazi doctors after the end of the Second World War for carrying out mass murder and grisly experiments on Holocaust victims.
In February, some Calgary Walk for Freedom protestors carried tiki torches, hearkening back to the far-right march in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. The torch-lit march in Charlottesville was in turn inspired by similar Nazi rallies.
“The abuse of the memory of the Holocaust to serve a toxic and conspiratorial agenda must stop,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “There is room for a healthy debate in Canadian society on how to tackle COVID-19, but the cheap use of Holocaust imagery is horrifying and beyond the pale.”
Also in February, a Vancouver woman unveiled a line of t-shirts for online sale that included a yellow Star of David and the words “Covid Caust.” However, the website where the shirts were sold no longer appears to be active.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also been used as cover for racist attacks. In May, B’nai Brith released a policy paper on confronting COVID-inspired antisemitism. Meanwhile, acts of anti-Asian racism have skyrocketed, with Vancouver Police reporting a 717% increase from 2019 to 2020.
In December, a leading activist in Vancouver’s anti-lockdown movement proudly called himself a “Holocaust disbeliever” and alleged that “a bunch of Zionist Jews” were to blame for “setting up Hitler.”