Margot Friedlaender, a survivor of the Holocaust who turned 100-years-old in November, on Thursday condemned the co-opting of the yellow Star of David patch, which Jewish people were forced to wear during the era of Nazi Germany, by anti-vaccine protestors.
Speaking to the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, Friedlaender reminding people of the importance of remembering and honoring the victims of the mass genocide, Reuters reported.
"Incredulous, I had to watch at the age of 100 years, how symbols of our exclusion by the Nazis, such as the so-called 'Judenstern' [the German word for the yellow badges], are shamelessly used on the open street by the new enemies of democracy, to present themselves - whilst living in the middle of a democracy-as victims," she said, speaking on the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
"Today, I see the memory of what happened being abused for political reasons, sometimes even derided and trampled all over," she added, per Reuters.
Friedlaender's mother and brother were both killed in Auschwitz, and Friedlaender herself survived a concentration camp in modern-day Czech Republic.
Reuters reported that the Israeli government published a report Thursday accusing anti-vaccine protesters of stoking global anti-Semitism.
There have been several reports of anti-vaxxers around the world using the yellow badges during protests, in an effort to compare COVID-19 public health regulations to Nazis singling out Jews for persecution.
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, located in Jerusalem, told the Montreal Gazette that "manipulating the Holocaust in this way trivializes the horrific atrocities that were perpetrated and denigrates the memory of victims and survivors."
New York Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is Jewish himself, faced protestors wearing swastikas and Stars of David outside his office in November in response to vaccine requirements, The Washington Post reported.
There were similar incidents over the past year in Oklahoma and Kansas, while the mayor of Anchorage said it was "a credit" to Jews to wear the Star of David in protest of COVID-19 health protocols, the Post reported.
The United Nations General Assembly in 2005 designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops.