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Confrontation at German coronavirus protest causes a stir

Counter demonstrators shows a poster reading "shame on you" as the protest against a 'silent march' to oppose the coronavirus policy of the federal government, at the district Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020.

FABIAN SOMMER, DPA/AP

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER | Associated Press | Published: November 22, 2020

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BERLIN — A video went viral Sunday in Germany of a confrontation at a coronavirus protest, where a young woman compared herself to a famous Nazi resistance fighter and then was accused by a security guard of "trivializing" the Holocaust.

Several people protesting coronavirus restrictions in Germany that seek to tamp down new infections have tried to depict themselves as victims of government persecution. Some have even put on Stars of David, symbols that the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Third Reich before they killed them.

The woman spoke on stage Saturday evening in the northern city of Hannover, telling fellow protesters "I feel like Sophie Scholl, since I've been active in the resistance, giving speeches, going to protests, distributing flyers."

Scholl fought the Nazis with her brother and other members of the resistance group White Rose. After distributing flyers at a Munich university, she was convicted of high treason and was executed at age 22 by the Nazis in 1943.

While the female protester was talking, a young security guard approached the stage, saying repeatedly that "I'm not going to be a security guard for this kind of idiocy." The woman looked at him in disbelief while he called her speech "a trivialization of the Holocaust." He was ushered away by security and she threw down the mic in anger.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted Sunday that the comparison with Scholl "mocks the bravery that was needed to take a stand against the Nazis."

"Nothing connects the corona protests with the resistance fighters. Nothing!" Maas wrote.

The Nazis orchestrated the genocide of six million European Jews during the Third Reich. They also killed tens of thousands of other people who opposed their regime, such as communists, Social Democrats, members of the church or resistance fighters.

German officials, meanwhile, have been generally praised for their handling of the pandemic. The European Union nation has reported over 14,000 coronavirus-related deaths, a toll only one-fourth that of Britain's.