A German official cautioned on Tuesday that anti-Semitism has increased during the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Felix Klein, who heads the government’s work against anti-Semitism, told reporters that people protesting coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns are expressing anti-Semitic attitudes, despite being from different political backgrounds, The Associated Press reported.
The federal government commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism said that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have been circulated by those who believe in alternative healing and peace campaigns.
Far-right supporters in Germany have also spread the theories as groups organize protests against the restrictions, he said.
The conspiracy theories include unfounded claims that elites are using the pandemic to oppress the population, which he noted is a common anti-Semitic belief.
But these protesters have also compared their experience with restrictions and lockdowns to what the Jewish people went through in Nazi Germany. The demonstrators have taken to wearing yellow Stars of David or saying they are like Anne Frank or anti-fascist campaigner Sophie Scholl, he said, according to the AP.
“Portraying oneself as the persecuted victim is and was a central element of anti-Semitic attitudes,” Klein told reporters in Berlin.
Anetta Kahane, who manages the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, said anti-Semitism appears to be uniting the different groups of protesters, the AP reported. She cautioned that this increase in anti-Semitism could likely lead to an open hatred of Jews in Germany.
The Holocaust led by Nazi Germany resulted in the persecution and deaths of millions of European Jews.