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Elizabeth Breitmeyer / Gavel Media

Exploitation of the Holocaust by the Global Far Right

The Holocaust has become a new manipulative tool of tyrants. The Holocaust, which killed around 6 million Jewish people during the second world war, should be looked upon with reverence. Yet, it has become increasingly common for far-right leaders and groups to refer to judgment upon them as the same treatment as the state-sponsored murder of Jewish, Queer and disabled people. 

Recently, vaccine mandates have made the far right create comparisons to the Holocaust. In pop culture, the Mandalorian actor Gina Carano was fired from her role due to an inappropriate post that compared vaccine mandates to being a victim of the Holocaust. She posted a photo of a Jewish woman being beaten in the late 40s, saying that her experience of being Republican was the same. During vaccine protests, participants wore yellow Star of David patches that read “unvaccinated” referencing the way Jewish people were forced to wear these during the Holocaust. This is not just crazies on the street, it includes members of the House of Representatives, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, who came under fire for comparing House mask mandates to the treatment of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Other Representatives, including Representatives Jim Walsh, Heather Scott and Warren Davis have made this comparison. Donald Trump Jr. was recently quoted comparing liberals to Nazis after saying that young people should take fewer history classes because they are filled with liberal ideas.  Though some could argue liberals make use of the same comparison in placing the far right and Nazism in the same bracket, some right-wing politicians actually have ties to Neo-Nazis. After refusing to condemn white supremacy, Donald Trump was endorsed by the Proud Boys and the Klu Klux Klan. Trump’s campaign also accepted money from notorious white supremacists such as Morris Gulett and Peter Zieve. Although Nazism is a belief system typically associated with the far left, many Neo-Nazi groups have continued to endorse the far right. 

In the United Kingdom, the far-right group UKIP has been growing in popularity. Since 1993, their main goal has been the removal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. In 2005, they gained three seats in the European parliament. By 2009, they had 13 tying with the Labour party. Big proponents for the eventual decision of BREXIT, their populist libertarian ideals were based on the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Once their goal was met, they shifted from participating in English politics to spreading anti-Muslim rhetoric. Gerad Batten, the leader of UKIP in 2018, reportedly compared Islam to a “death cult”. One year later, UKIP leader Richard Brain had emails leaked that revealed his comparison between Nazis and Muslim immigrants. Despite this rhetoric, UKIP members themselves have been accused of being Nazi-esque. Dean Morrice, a former UKIP member was found guilty of terrorism in June of 2021. Morrice ran a violent far-right Instagram account that encouraged the attack of both ethnic and religious minorities and stockpiled chemical weapons used for bombs. 

Recently, far-right leaders and white nationalists across the country are showering admiration onto Vladimir Putin. Putin claimed that his recent re-invasion of Ukraine is an attempt to“denazify” the area. The recent popularization of far-right ideas has empowered Putin to invade Ukraine. Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has revealed that Putin hoped that Trump would leave NATO if he won a second term. His so-called reason for attacking is to help Russian militants that are being “oppressed” in the region. His language seems ignorant, but it's purposeful. In creating this sense of  “otherness” and demoralizing Ukraine, Putin fictionalized a reason for the attack. The reality of the situation is that Putin, much like the actual Hilter, is invading countries to create an empire. In fact Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust. This March, Putin launched an airstrike that attacked the Ukrainian World War II monument Babyn Yar in Kyiv that formerly served as a place of remembrance. During a broadcast, Zelensky called out Putin saying “It is a place of prayer and a place of remembrance for the 100,000 people killed by the Nazis … Who do you think you are, to make it a target for your missiles?” 

There is a reason that these far-right groups are warping the Holocaust for their own reasons. They are constantly being compared to Nazis based on their populist, ethnostate, nationalist ideas. In turning the focus on their enemies with the intense binary of good and bad, they place themselves as the good guys. It could be argued that their liberal counterparts are guilty of the same exploitation, yet the similarities are hard to not see. Their overall beliefs and actions show their association with the Third Reich. This trend of evoking the Holocaust is parallel to the rise of far-right nationalist groups across the globe. During Trump’s term as president white nationalist groups rose by 55%. There have always been far-right extremist groups throughout the rest of the globe, but they now hold power beyond measures. In using anti-immigration, populism and nationalism, they rise to power. Their rhetoric concerning Nazis puts them in a brighter light, even if the trick is clear to see. Putin has become the “strong-man” hero of the far-right where he is viewed as an authoritarian leader that will “fix”  Ukraine. David Duke, leader of the KKK has called Russia “ the key to white survival”. Due to the unification of the global far-right, extremism and violence have risen. Their views that they are oppressed and comparable to Holocaust victims are obtuse. Yet, history will remember the populist, extremist far-right as the aggressors.  

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