Yellow Jewish Stars with the word “Covid” found spray painted on WWII bunkers
World War II bunkers in Koudekerke, Zeeland were defaced with yellow Stars of David containing the word "Covid", police confirmed. The stars were painted in the style of the patches Jewish people were forced to wear as an identifying mark in German occupied countries from 1939 to 1945, including in the Netherlands beginning in 1942.
Police discovered the graffiti on at least four bunkers on Monday morning following a report. "Deeply sad. You can disagree with choices made by politicians, and there is nothing wrong with that itself. But to make your point of view clear in this way is nauseating," police stated.
The vandalized bunkers are located near the Duinweg in the village with a population of almost 3,500 people. Waterschap Scheldestromen is the organization in charge of the monuments. They were informed about the incident.
Police said they were investigating the spray painted bunkers, and are looking for people who know more about what happened.
Coronavirus skeptic groups, far right organizations, and their leadership have been under fire for much of the past year for attempting to draw a parallel between the the deportation and mass murder of religious adherents during a war, and the personal freedoms which were limited during as part of a government response to a public health crisis. Part of the debate in the Netherlands and abroad has included an attempt to link the yellow patches forced on Jewish people as a badge of shame with requiring people to wear non-medical face masks in some publicly-accessible indoor spaces.
In August last year, two children appeared at an anti-lockdown protest in The Hague wearing a yellow Jewish star that also read ‘unvaccinated’. Willem Engel of coronavirus skeptic organization Viruswaarheid dismissed any concerns stating it was offensive to Jewish people, and inappropriate to make children participate in that way. He said it was an act of free speech and that, “it must be possible for people to do that.”
"All those comparisons with the Second World War are starting to become a big problem in the Netherlands," said Aron Vrieler of CIDI, an advocacy group for Jewish and Israeli people, to newspaper AD. "Willem Engel has a large support base, and now that he is entering politics he will be given an even greater responsibility. He must be aware of that, By shouting things like this, he contributes to the polarization of the Netherlands.
A Liberation Day poster jointly produced by far-right party FvD and Viruswaarheid also came into the spotlight more recently. The poster suggested that Dutch social and political policies meant to help slow the spread of coronavirus was comparable to the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany during World War II. That also caused significant outrage among the country's leading political figures, and led three of the FvD’s eight members of parliament to leave the party.