Gary Lineker row: Holocaust charity boss hits out at Nazi Germany references

'These comparisons are wrong when the point being made is one we agree with, and when it is not,' she said.

The chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust has hit out at the use of Nazi Germany as "shorthand for anything that we hate or fear" in the wake of the Gary Lineker controversy.

Lineker has been at the centre of a Holocaust row after he compared the British government's language on migrants to the Nazis - prompting the BBC to ask him to step back from his role presenting Match of the Day.

Referencing home secretary Suella Braverman's plan to keep migrant boats from entering the UK, Lineker wrote: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful."

He was later criticised for the comment and added: "There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?" he tweeted earlier in the week.

In an op-ed for The Times on Friday, Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock urged "caution from everyone when considering reference to this period of history to make any point".

Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker outside his home in London following reports that the BBC is to have a
Gary Lineker said he stands by what he said and isn't concerned by calls for him to stand down from the BBC. (Getty Images)

She said: "However passionately we feel about important and pressing issues of the day, it seems to me that comparing those current concerns to the almost unimaginable horrors of the Nazi period is wrong. These comparisons are wrong when the point being made is one we agree with, and when it is not.

"Of course we can and must learn from history. Of course we can and should have opinions, and we should be unafraid to share them. But we can learn about history without distorting it, and we can talk about issues we are passionate about without doing a disservice to the truth of the past."

Although Pollock did not mention Lineker by name, her comments come amid a huge row over whether the BBC presenter should retain his job after his political tweet.

The BBC said in a statement on Friday: "The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.

“The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.

“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies," the statement added.

His comments have caused huge division, with some applauding Lineker for speaking out on the issue, while others - including Braverman - have criticised him for invoking the Holocaust to make his point.

Following the tweet, Braverman said she found Lineker's comparison "lazy and unhelpful", particularly because her husband is Jewish.

“My children are therefore directly descendant from people who were murdered in gas chambers during the Holocaust,” she said on the BBC podcast Political Thinking.

“To kind of throw out those kind of flippant analogies diminishes the unspeakable tragedy that millions of people went through and I don’t think anything that is happening in the UK today can come close to what happened in the Holocaust."

For his part, Lineker has confirmed that he stands by what he said.