Amsterdam mayor condemns ‘shameful’ Holocaust and coronavirus comparison

Floral tributes at the ceremony. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP/HH
Floral tributes at the ceremony. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP/HH

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has spoken of the shamefulness of comparing the ‘systematic murder’ of Jews, Roma and Sinti to the coronavirus restrictions, in a speech to mark Holocaust Rembrance Day in the Netherlands.

It is ‘shameless to equate the coronavirus pandemic with the systematic exclusion and murder of the Jews, Roma and Sinti,’ she said. It is ‘shameless to abuse the Star of David here in Amsterdam on Dam Square for effect, just to get attention.’

Halsema made the comments at the mirrored monument Nooit meer Auschwitz (Auschwitz never again) in Amsterdam on Sunday. This week it is 77 years since concentration camp was liberated.

‘Being fed up with coronavirus, our frustrations and our differences of opinion should not get in the way of our vigilance, and the undeniable fact that we live in freedom and can make choices here and now,’ Halsema said.

Some 107,000 of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands were transported to concentration camps and 102,000 of them were killed.

This year’s ceremony was again low key because of the coronavirus restrictions, and the traditional silent march did not take place for the second year in a row.

Last December, judges in Amsterdam ordered far right Dutch politician Thierry Baudet to remove tweets in which he compares the current coronavirus regulations to the Holocaust, and to stop using photographs from the Holocaust to make his point.

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