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Outrage over COVID protester's Nazi resistance comparison

November 22, 2020

A young anti-lockdown protester has gone viral for comparing herself to famous Nazi resistance fighter Sophie Scholl. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized the comments for trivializing the Holocaust.

Hannover | Coronavirus |
Image: Hauke-Christian Dittrich/dpa/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said people who compared themselves to Sophie Scholl in modern Germany "mock the courage that it took to show resistance to the Nazis."

"That trivializes the Holocaust and shows an unacceptable historical ignorance. Nothing connects the coronavirus-protests with resistance fighters. Nothing!" he wrote on Sunday.

A video shared and widely ridiculed on social media showed a young woman giving a speech at a Querdenken anti-lockdown protest in the western city of Hannover on Saturday.

In the video, the woman, who identifies herself as "Jana from Kassel," said she "feels like Sophie Scholl, because for months I have been active in the resistance here, giving speeches, going to demos, giving out flyers."

"I'm 22 years old, just like Sophie Scholl when she fell victim to National Socialism," the woman said.

A young security guard at the demonstration then interrupted her, handing her his fluorescent vest before saying, "I'm not going to be a security guard for bullshit like this." The woman then threw her microphone to the ground and stormed off the podium.

The Querdenken ("lateral thinking") movement has rallied thousands of people, including far-right extremists, to German cities in the past few weeks to protest measures intended to protect public health. The coronavirus pandemic has already killed millions of people worldwide.

Sophie Scholl
Sophie Scholl was executed in 1943Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans , with whom she founded the White Rose movement in 1942, is considered one of the most prominent resistance fighters in Nazi Germany.

A student at Munich university, Scholl caused considerable uproar by writing and printing anti-Nazi flyers and distributing them in several major cities in Germany and Austria.

She was eventually tracked down and captured by the Gestapo before being executed by guillotine in 1943. Dozens of streets and squares in Germany are now named after the Scholls and the White Rose group.

After her initial tantrum, the woman in the video later returned to the stage to continue her speech, repeating her comparison to the resistance hero.

Benjamin Knight Kommentarbild PROVISORISCH
Ben Knight Ben Knight is a journalist in Berlin who mainly writes about German politics.@BenWernerKnight