Comparing measures against coronavirus and situations of war and the Holocaust is hurtful and painful for victims of war and their loved ones. War museums and remembrance centers note “with growing astonishment” that a small group of compatriots are increasingly making these comparisons. While coronavirus measures are disproportionate, for example, to destroy a large group of people simply because of who they are, the museums said in an open letter.
The letter was issued by the Board of Trustees of the 40 – 45 Museums and Memory Centers Foundation (SMH), to which the fifteen largest museums and 30 smaller museums and memory centers are affiliated. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the National May 4-5 Committee and Ministers also warned that the comparison with World War II is not valid. In recent months, however, such comparisons have been heard more and more, SMH noted.
SMH recognizes that coronavirus measures can lead to vigorous discussions and protests. “The fact that all of these opinions can be expressed and heard once again underlines the freedom in which we live,” the foundation board said. “We have the rule of law and freedom. None of this was the case during the war years. Whole groups of people were massacred, there was forced labor and those who protested could be imprisoned, tortured or executed without trial.”
“The measures against the coronavirus affect us all, including war museums and memorial centres. The pandemic and the measures are wide-ranging and bring with them uncertainty and emotions. This naturally leads to differences of opinion,” according to the SMH. The foundation calls for discussion without minimizing the “unprecedented suffering of the previous generation”.