Toronto (April 5, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) strongly condemns a protest held by COVID-19 conspiracists at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa over the weekend.
Video footage of the April 2 gathering shows protesters at the National Holocaust Monument – which honours the six million Jews and millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War – where they are heard openly comparing the Holocaust and discrimination of Jews in Canada in the 1930s to their own situation amid COVID-19 health mandates, and an individual is seen standing on the Monument.
A flag associating Jewish billionaire George Soros, a common target of antisemitic conspiracies, with the infamous “Great Reset” conspiracy theory is also seen affixed to a bollard.
FSWC Director of Allyship and Community Engagement Dan Panneton issued the following statement:
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theorists around the world have compared pandemic health measures to aspects of the Holocaust. We've seen protestors adorn themselves with yellow stars, invoke the Nuremberg Code, compare themselves with Holocaust victims such as Anne Frank and equate government and public health professionals with Nazis. Antisemitic ‘puppet master’ theories invoking George Soros and the World Economic Forum have also been prevalent throughout the movement.
“Any of these Holocaust comparisons are deeply troubling and an affront to each and every Jewish person who was dehumanized, persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. Incidents like this past weekend’s protest at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa highlight the importance of high-quality Holocaust education that discourages making simplistic, ahistorical and deeply offensive equivocations. Carefully and respectfully applying the lessons of the Holocaust is an essential exercise in any liberal democracy.”