Holocaust groups have welcomed a German supreme court ruling against a poster campaign which compared the slaughter of animals to the Shoah.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) “Holocaust on your Plate” adverts constituted an offence against human dignity, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said last week.
Paul Spiegel, late president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, filed a lawsuit in 2004 after Peta attempted to launch the campaign in Germany.
Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the council, said: “This is a milestone ruling, stating very clearly that no use of the Holocaust and its victims to raise attention for other political issues, dilemmas or political demands is acceptable or legal.”
The campaign included billboards showing black and white images of emaciated concentration camp inmates next to full colour photos of chickens, turkeys and other animals fattened for slaughter.
Slogans on the posters included “Final Humiliation” and “For animals, all people are Nazis”.
The court said the campaign was not an intentional insult to human dignity, but found it could prove as hurtful to Jews as outright Holocaust denial, which is illegal in Germany.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “This exploitation of Holocaust imagery is a shameless attempt to use shock tactics to create publicity and is profoundly offensive to both the victims and survivors.”
A Peta spokesman said the campaign did not intend to trivialise the Shoah, but wanted to use shock tactics to draw attention to the killing of animals.