Munich has banned the display of yellow stars at demonstrations against coronavirus-related restrictions. Other cities are expected to follow suit.
The decision in the Bavarian capital follows mounting concern among politicians and Jewish leaders reported in last week’s JC about so-called “hygiene protesters” who claim they are being persecuted like Jews under Hitler for opposing government measures to curb the pandemic. They have been seen wearing yellow stars saying “Not vaccinated.”
A spokesperson for Munich’s police department said that anyone who wears a yellow star at demonstrations now faces a fine. Felix Klein, Germany’s commissioner on antisemitism, called the use of yellow stars and other Holocaust symbolism at demonstrations a “calculated breaking of taboos.”
It is not the first use of such comparisons; Klein noted that in the past year, protesters against a proposed ban on diesel vehicles in Stuttgart wore yellow stars identifying themselves as a “Diesel driver”.
Some years ago, protesters against enforced muzzling of pit bulls also decorated their dogs with yellow stars. The tactic was made illegal.
Ludwig Spaenle, head of the commission on antisemitism in Bavaria, said protesters in Munich had put up stickers comparing German virologist Christian Drosten – an expert on measures to combat the pandemic – to Josef Mengele, who send hundreds of thousands to their death in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Under their faces is the slogan: “Trust me, I’m a doctor”.
Meanwhile, domestic affairs spokesman for the Social Democratic Party in Magdeburg, Rüdiger Erben, has called for a similar ban in his own state of Saxony-Anhalt.