Holocaust comparisons are punished more severely

Helene and Jakob Stern were a Jewish couple from Bavaria. He was a World War I veteran. In the 1930s, they ran a clothing store in the small town of St. Ingbert in Saarland. Her two sons were born here, Walter and Gunther James. Here, in 1935, she was upset by the National Socialists, who had won a referendum in the previously politically neutral Saarland. People who were her neighbors scrawled “Don’t buy from Jews” on their shop windows, spat at them, insulted them, and threatened them. It was here that Helene and Jakob Stern began fleeing via Luxembourg to the USA. That was the only way they escaped being murdered.

Two stumbling blocks commemorate them today. They are embedded in the pavement in front of the building. And here recently an activist from the “lateral thinker” party “Die Basis” lit candles and laid out a piece of paper, wrapped in cling film. “It always started with exclusion!” It said in large letters. And: “The red candles stand for vaccinated, the white for unvaccinated fellow human beings. Only together can we overcome the division.” The message: Society today treats those people who refuse to be vaccinated against the corona virus just as it did with the Jews back then.

It is not the first time that tasteless comparisons have been made during corona protests. There have already been Jewish stars with the inscription “Unvaccinated” or cynical-sarcastic slogans such as “Vaccinate sets you free” at demonstrations. But here the judiciary in Saarland has now drawn a new line. The judiciary has made it clear for the first time in a precedent: Even stumbling blocks are protected against such abuse under criminal law. Anyone who uses these small memorial sites to “equate the restrictions imposed by the Corona measures with the Holocaust committed by the National Socialists against millions of Jewish fellow citizens” is committing a downplaying of the Holocaust, punishable as incitement to hatred under Section 130 of the Criminal Code.

disturbance of the public peace

This is what it says in the penalty order from the district court of St. Ingbert, which is available to the SZ. In justification, the Saarbrücken public prosecutor’s office argued in a letter to the court that the discussion about corona measures had become so “emotional” that such provocations at stumbling blocks could disturb “public peace”. Other courts, such as the Bavarian Supreme Regional Court, have recently ruled that equating corona measures with the Holocaust can represent incitement to the people – but never in relation to stumbling blocks. The perpetrator in St. Ingbert, an IT entrepreneur and former Bundestag candidate for “Basis”, had initially lodged an objection, but then withdrew it on September 7th. The decision is now final. The court imposed a fine of 50 daily rates.

The stumbling blocks are a project by the artist Gunter Demnig. They are small cobblestones covered with brass and inscribed with the life dates of people who were persecuted, murdered, deported, expelled or driven to suicide during the Nazi era. There are now more than 90,000 of these stones in several European countries. The “basis” candidate in St. Ingbert, Saarland, had not only misused the stumbling blocks for the Bavarian couple Helene and Jakob Stern to denounce the corona policy, but also others in the small town. She also publicly acknowledged it.

Shortly after she received the first mail from the public prosecutor’s office, which pointed out the problems of her comparison, she also received a package from the mayor of St. Ingbert, Ulli Meyer. A gift: he gave her Anne Frank’s diary.

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