Opinion: Comparing pandemic mitigation measures to Holocaust trivializes horrors

Such comparisons are painful to Jews everywhere, including in our Juneau community.

The Board of Congregation Sukkat Shalom, Juneau’s Reform Jewish Synagogue, appreciates the Empire’s article of Oct. 1, 2021, titled “Jewish groups say Holocaust comparisons a worrisome trend.” Among other things, the article addressed recent public meetings in Anchorage where opponents of requiring masks as a public health measure wore yellow, six-pointed stars to the meeting. Those protesting in this manner were apparently suggesting that a mask requirement was as burdensome to them as was the murder of millions simply for being Jewish.

Such comparisons are painful to Jews everywhere, including in our Juneau community.

Many of our members lost family in the Holocaust. Their ancestors were forced to wear the yellow stars to be identified as Jews, were separated from their families, sent to death camps, and subsequently killed.

Wearing a mask for public health purposes cannot be rationally equated to being intentionally murdered. This comparison trivializes the Holocaust, and is also an insidious way of denying it, or denying its scale and impact. The truth of the horrors perpetrated against Jews, homosexuals and others must not be forgotten or trivialized.

The history of this dark era should be taught and understood so that horrors of the past are not repeated. Congregation Sukkat Shalom is looking into opportunities to share accurate historical information about the Holocaust and consider its far-reaching effects. If you or your organization would like to take part in an educational event about the Holocaust, please email SukkatShalomAlaska@gmail.com.

The Board of Congregation Sukkat Shalom: Libby Bakalar, Joyanne Bloom, Rebecca Braun, Trish Turner Custard, Norman Cohen, Kayla Epstein, Jan Levy, Emily Mesch and Shari Paul. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.