Members in the local Jewish community say they’re appalled that a Nazi salute was flashed during the Fox Chapel School Board meeting Monday night. It came after the board voted to have students wear masks when they head back to school.
The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh said there is no comparison between masking children and the Holocaust. They say it’s not the first time this comparison has been made in regard to public health policy.
“Seeing anything like that is a slap in the face and so insulting to the memories of the victims of the Nazis and the families of the survivors who are all around us in Pittsburgh,” Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Director Dr. Lauren Bairnsfather said.
She said these actions minimize the Holocaust and its atrocities. “Then you deny the Holocaust. We can’t stand for that. We have to know about that,” Dr. Bairnsfather said.
This is not the first time masks and vaccines have been compared to the systematic killing of millions of people. For the Jewish community, this antisemitism hits a nerve.
“To see people comparing that to wearing a mask in public is very painful to them,” Director of Marketing for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Adam Hertzman said.
Hertzman believes education is the tool to fight this.
“Hate of any kind, whether it’s antisemitism, racial hatred or other forms of bigotry have no place in our society,” Hertzman said.
She said this happened in a district that’s home to one of its LIGHT Centers, which promote human rights.
“I would invite him to visit the LIGHT Center at Dorseyville Middle School to see what’s going on in his own district,” Dr. Bairnsfather said.
Fox Chapel provided this statement: “The Fox Chapel Area School District hopes all members of its school community will be respectful in their interactions with each other and during district events, including public school board meetings, even during difficult conversations and differences of opinion. As we move toward the 2021-2022 school year together, the Fox Chapel Area School District remains steadfastly committed to reflecting the district’s core ideals of respect, responsibility, and integrity.”
Dr. Bairnsfather plans to speak with the school board about this and continue the work of the LIGHT Center in the district.