'Beyond grotesque': Outrage over store's 'anti-vax' item

·3-min read

A hat shop has come under fire for selling badges that are near identical to the yellow stars Jewish people were forced to wear by the Nazis.

In a now-deleted post, Nashville Hat WRKS in the US shared a picture of the patches, which reads 'Not Vaccinated' inside the yellow Star of David.

Yellow Star of David patches were used by the Nazis to identify, isolate and dehumanised Jewish people in Europe prior to WWII, the Holocaust Memorial Center explains.

"It allowed for the easier facilitation of their separation from society and subsequent ghettoization, which ultimately led to the deportation and murder of 6 million Jews," the Holocaust Memorial Center says.

"Those who failed or refused to wear the badge risked severe punishment, including death."

While the Instagram post promoting the patches has since been deleted, screenshots of it have begun circulating on social media.

The yellow Star of David patches reading 'not vaccinated'.
In a now-deleted post, Nashville Hat WRKS in the US shared a picture of the patches, which reads 'Not Vaccinated' inside the yellow Star of David. Source: Twitter/@TheTNHoller

One woman, Brandi Kelley told WZTV she had been crying since she saw the patches and questioned how the owner could not see how offensive they are.

President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Ivo Daalder said on Twitter that when his mum was a young school girl in Holland, she had been "forced to wear a yellow star by the Nazis to identify her as a Jew."

"It’s beyond grotesque to sell this evil symbol to proclaim one’s not vaccinated. Where does this end?"

Congresswoman compares masks to Nazi Germany

US Congresswoman and far-right conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene was heavily criticised this week for drawing comparisons between Covid-19 safety measures like mask-wearing to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany

On Tuesday, she tweeted out a news story about a grocery store chain that plans to allow vaccinated employees to go mask-less.

Those who do will have a logo on their name tags indicating they had been vaccinated.

“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Greene tweeted.

US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.
US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene came under fire for her comments about the Holocaust and the Covid-19 pandemic. Source: Sipa USA

Store posts Covid-19 conspiracy theories

The store at the centre of the recent controversy, Nashville Hat WRKS, regularly posts content against Covid-19 measures and conspiracy theories on Instagram.

The owner responded to the criticism about the patch in an Instagram post.

"People are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged by the tyranny the world is experiencing?" the response says.

"If you don't understand what is happening, that is on you, not me. I pay much more respect to history by standing up with the fallen than offering silence and compliance. That is the worst crime."

This is not the first time the Star of David has been used to appropriate the anti-vaxx agenda.

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In 2019, the Anti Defamation League said some anti-vaxxers had utilised the star to symbolise their "persecution".

"The stars, emblazoned with the stylised words “No Vax,” are showing up on social media, especially on Facebook, and at anti-vaccine events," ADL said. 

"This is a hugely inappropriate use of this enduring symbol of the persecution of Jews by the Nazis during World War II and minimises and trivialises the experiences of the survivors and victims of the Holocaust."

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