Robert F. Kennedy Jr. invokes Nazi Germany in offensive anti-vaccine speech

“Even in Hitler’s (sic) Germany you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did,” Kennedy, a prominent vaccine advocate, said in a speech at the Lincoln Memorial. . “I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and I met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died, it is true, but it was possible.”

Kennedy’s historically inaccurate anti-Semitic remark ignores the fact that Frank and some 6 million other Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Frank, who was a teenager at the time, hid in an attic in the Netherlands, not Germany, before being captured and sent to a concentration camp, where she died.

The Auschwitz Memorial responded to Kennedy in a statement on Twitter, saying: “Exploitation of the tragedy of people who suffered, were humiliated, tortured and murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany – including children like Anne Frank – in a debate on vaccines and limitations during the global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay.”

The son of former Attorney General and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy has a long history of spreading misinformation about vaccines.

Although there is no national vaccination mandate covering all Americans, various cities across the country, including Washington, have required proof of vaccination to enter many restaurants, bars, gyms and other private businesses. The federal government has mandated vaccines for federal workers, but a federal judge in Texas blocked the administration from enforcing it on Friday. The administration’s attempt to impose vaccines on big business was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month, though it allowed a vaccination mandate to go into effect for some workers. health across the country. Some companies have voluntarily imposed vaccines.

Sunday’s event, billed as a protest against vaccination mandates, featured speakers repeatedly spreading misinformation about vaccines and featured several bigoted comparisons to the Holocaust. At least one man was seen sporting a yellow Star of David, which Jews were required by law to wear as an identifier in Nazi Germany.

While language referencing totalitarianism was common throughout the speeches, references to the Holocaust were found largely on signs, one of which read, “Make the Nuremberg Code great again!” and another said, “Bring back the Nuremberg trials.” The Nuremberg Code delineated “permissible medical experiments” on human subjects and stipulated that such experiments should be for the good of society and satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts. The code was established during the prosecution of German doctors who subjected Jews to torturous medical experiments.

Another sign with clear anti-Semitic sentiments read: “Corrupt, NIH, Big Pharma Mafia, Big CDC Cartel; Big Fraud Media: Your circumcision is dividing America! You all have foreskin stained money in your thug hands!!

Other attendees donned clothes and held signs promoting former President Donald Trump or attacking President Joe Biden. Many also wore shirts with “Defeat the Mandate”, the name of the event. Organizers have secured a permit from the National Park Service for up to 20,000 people for the event. Protesters started at the Washington Monument and marched to the Lincoln Memorial, where speakers addressed the crowd.

CNN’s Joe Johns spoke to three women – Kim Cogswell, Christina Patterson and Erin Nichols – who traveled from Pennsylvania and Maryland to Washington for what two said was their first-ever large-scale protest. They said the lack of freedom was their biggest frustration with the vaccination mandates, although none said confidently that they thought the vaccines were safe.

Cogswell said she is a healthcare worker, “which brought me here because of issues I’ve had with my job and my current vaccination status.” Asked about the type of issues, Cogswell said, “Multiple issues with HR and doctors treating me differently and discriminating against me because of my, my choices.”

Patterson said she worked in the school system, but had not suffered a personal reaction at work for not being vaccinated.

All three vaccines available in the United States are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death from Covid-19. They have been studied in large clinical trials that have included thousands of people, and more than 210 million people in the United States have been fully immunized since the vaccines were authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drugs. United States administration.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks and continues to monitor potential safety issues. Some people experience brief, mild side effects such as headaches, muscle aches and swelling at the injection site after vaccination, according to the CDC, but serious complications are rare.

In November, the CDC reported that unvaccinated adults had 13 times the risk of testing positive for Covid-19 and 68 times the risk of dying from Covid-19 compared to fully vaccinated and boosted adults.

Jamie Gumbrecht contributed to this report.

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