German Catholic Bishop Condemns Antisemitic ‘Relapse Into the Middle Ages’ Over Coronavirus
A leader of the Catholic Church in Germany sounded the alarm on Tuesday concerning the growing hold of antisemitic conspiracy theories over the country’s vocal movement of coronavirus skeptics who are opposed to social distancing, mask-wearing and vaccinations.
Ulrich Neymeyr — the bishop of the central German state of Thuringia — asserted in a media interview that the new wave of antisemitism marked a “relapse into the Middle Ages,” a period of history when Jews were frequently blamed and then persecuted for outbreaks of plague and disease in the general population.
“What worries me even more is the theory of the world Jewish conspiracy, sometimes at subliminal level, at other times quite openly,” Bishop Neymeyr told local broadcaster MDR.
Neymeyr said it was critical for German Catholics to embrace their country’s Jewish heritage. Events to celebrate “Nine Centuries of Jewish Life in Thuringia” begin next year.
“As a Catholic, one is glad that there is Jewish life and culture, that there are people of the Jewish faith among us,” Neymeyr said. “The Jews remain our older brothers and sisters.”
Demonstrations against coronavirus protocols organized by the group “Querdenken” — German for “lateral thinking” — have taken place throughout 2020 and have regularly featured far-right symbols and visual themes comparing social distancing to the Nazi Holocaust.