A'dam mayor horrified by people wearing Jewish badges in anti-Covid measures protest
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam said she saw "with horror" that during the demonstration against the coroanvirus measures on Dam Square people wore a yellow Star of David on their clothes. "I call on the organization of the demonstration to condemn the wearing of the star and prevent this from happening again," she said.
During the Second World War, Jewish people in Nazi occupied countries were forced to mark themselves by wearing a yellow Star of David, now commonly referred to as a 'Yellow badge' or 'Jewish badge'.
The mayor called on all participants in the demonstration to distance themselves from this behavior. "The indescribable suffering of our Jewish population in World War II is in no way comparable to the problems people are experiencing today from the coronavirus pandemic," Halsema said.
"Our national monument on Dam Square still reminds us every day of this jet-black period in the past. I call on everyone to treat this historically charged place with respect. That on Dam Square people found it necessary to wear a yellow star is deeply sad and deeply hurtful to all survivors and relatives."
Over 20,000 people came to protest against the coronavirus measures in Amsterdam on Sunday. They gathered on Dam Square and then walked through the center in a large parade. About sixty organizations were represented.
The organizer of the demonstration, Michel Reijinga, said in response on "personal title and on behalf of Nederland in Verzet" that he fully supports Halsema's call. He said that his "grandfather and grandmother walked around with a star". So there is "no comparisons on my page".
"But", he said, "I have a following of more than 50,000 people and if fifty people between them walked with a star, I am not happy about it, but I can't ban them. But in '40-'45 apartheid was created for the Jews, and in '20-'21 apartheid is created for the unvaccintaed. So I understand those people making that comparison. But according to my background, it is not my place to do that. But I do understand it."
Aron Vrieler, anti-Semitism researcher at CIDI, called wearing a yellow star during such a demonstration a "serious trivialization of the Holocaust. It is hurtful to the surviving relatives of the Holocaust, but in itself also worrying that people are willing to go so far without thinking about what it means." According to him, there is "not even remotely a case" for comparison with "apartheid". "Wearing a Jewish star under these circumstances is not punishable, but in itself hurtful enough. The people who wore the star abuse suffering for their own political agenda and that is perverse."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.