Our second undergraduate research feature for Holocaust Remembrance Day is "Insult to Injury: The use of yellow badges by Anti-vaccination Protesters" by Silver Kuris.
Silver is a second year Concurrent Education student in Gordon Dueck’s HIST 306 Holocaust Seminar class and wrote this essay as an assignment submission examining memes that relate to the Holocaust.
As Silver explains,
Recently, in response to Covid-19 restrictions, certain groups of people have likened their so-called infringement of rights due to restrictions imposed to those experienced by the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Specifically, the organizers for the Truckers Convoy (aka Freedom Convoy) created a meme of the yellow Star of David patch that was required to be worn to identify Jews during the Holocaust, like a scarlet letter, and modified it by changing the word “Jew” (Jude) to “No Vax”. Furthermore, the Truckers Convoy organizers compared their experience of restrictions imposed on them as a result of declining to be vaccinated to be akin to those suffered by the Jewish people during the Holocaust. My essay discusses the origin and use of the meme and the implications of its use as a meme to support the Freedom Convoy. Unfortunately, the use of the Star of David meme by the Truckers Convoy organizer is not the first time groups have compared their personal plights to those suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust, however, it is a modern day example that there exists, to this day, individuals that minimize, deny and/or fail to understand the atrocities suffered by the Jewish people during the Holocaust; because if they did understand, they would not use the symbol of the yellow Star of David in such a way that trivializes its meaning.
In honour of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Department of History is featuring undergraduate student research from Tuesday, January 24th through Friday, January 27th. The department asked students to submit their work for consideration, and we have selected four different pieces that highlight the history of the Holocaust, the reconstitution of Jewish life in its aftermath, and the various problematic ways that the history of the Holocaust has been appropriated on social media in recent years. These four students completed their research papers in their History courses: HIST 295: The Holocaust taught by Dr. Gord Dueck and HIST 400: Transnational History of Jewish Migration taught by Bader Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Amy Fedeski.
Each day this week, we will publish one of these student projects deemed to be the strongest of the many exceptional projects we received during our open submission call. We hope you enjoy reading our students’ work. The Selection Committee would like to thank all of those who submitted their work for consideration.