By H. Esteves
A hat shop from Nashville, Tennessee, received major outlash after posting an Instagram photo of the manager wearing a Star of David with the words “not vaccinated” written on it. The post, which was deleted shortly after, stated that the stars were for sale at five dollars each. The public outcry originates from the fact that, in Nazi Germany, authorities forced Jewish people to wear a Star of David, thereby differentiating them from the rest of the population while dehumanizing them. Any Jewish person that was not wearing one of these in Nazi territory could be fined, imprisoned or even executed. Hence, most protest that it is offensive and disrespectful to wear such symbols that allude to the horrific crimes of the Nazis in the Holocaust.
This symbol attempts to draw a comparison between the restrictions of rights done by the Nazis and the ‘violation of personal freedom’ that is the lockdown and the pressure to vaccinate. The store manager released a statement questioning people’s outrage on the post, saying “people are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing? […] I pay much more respect to history by standing up with the fallen than offering silence and compliance.”
The origins of the use of the Star of David as a protest towards vaccines began in far-right demonstrations in Germany. Where they replaced the word “Jude” with “ungeimpft” or “unvaccinated”. Earlier this month in Germany, this type of protest was banned. Prague, London and Munich also saw appearances of these demonstrations at around the same time.
The CEO of the Jewish federation of Nashville summed it up well, stating that “it is just a disservice to the memory of those 6 million Jews that were murdered, to use holocaust images or symbols for any other purpose”.