The official memorial at Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp in which more than a million people were murdered, has accused prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jr of “moral and intellectual decay”, after comparing vaccination mandates to the laws of Hitler’s Germany. and invoked the name of Anne Frank.
The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum responded quickly to remarks made at a rally against the anti-vaccine mandate in Washington DC on Sunday.
In one Tweeterthe institution blamed Kennedy for “exploiting the tragedy of people who suffered, were humiliated, tortured and murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany – including children like Anne Frank”.
To do so during a debate about vaccines and how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic was a “sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay”, the memorial said.
Kennedy has made a public name for himself as an environmentalist, but in recent years has used his legendary surname to support conspiracy theories and oppose vaccines.
At Sunday’s Defeat the Warrants march, organized by his organization, Children’s Health Defense Fund, he assimilated government efforts to contain Covid-19 to the Holocaust.
“Even in Hitler’s Germany you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” he said.
Frank, who wrote a diary of how she hid from the Nazis for two years before being arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz, was actually apprehended not in Germany but in Amsterdam. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
Kennedy also dwelt on conspiracy theories about Microsoft founder and vaccine advocate Bill Gates and 5G, the mobile technology that Kennedy said was designed to “control our behavior.”
He also invoked his father, New York Attorney General and Senator Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 as he was trying to run for the US presidency.
“I visited 1962 East Germany with my dad,” Kennedy Jr told the anti-vaxxer crowd, “and met people who had climbed the [Berlin] Wall and escaped. It was possible. Today, the mechanisms are put in place where none of us can run and none of us can hide.
Holocaust survivors also lamented Kennedy’s words. Lucy Lipiner, 88, who fled the Nazis from Poland aged six, noted: “Robert Kennedy Jr is so ignorant. I am speechless.”
She added: “Running/hiding in the Holocaust was rare, almost impossible. I’m lucky to have survived. Anne Frank did not.