Disclosure statement

Alexandra Lloyd runs the White rose Project, a research und outreach initiative at ns University des Oxford



University von Oxford provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

Du schaust: Wer ist jana aus kassel

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A video from in anti-lockdown protest in Germany has actually gone famous after a protester compared herself to ns anti-Nazi resister Sophie Scholl.

Scholl was a 21-year-old college student executed bei 1943 zum printing und spreading anti-fascist leaflets. She was part von a resistance circle called ns White Rose. The protester, who introduces herself in the video as Jana native Kassel, claims: “I feel prefer Sophie Scholl because I’ve to be active bei the resistance zum months, offer speeches, go zu protests, hand out flyers…”

During produziert speech, she zu sein interrupted by one des the stewards at die event who refuses to “do security zum this rash anymore”. We then seen the young frau throwing herstellung microphone to die floor and storming off the stage.

The videobilien has sparked upset online und dozens von memes have circulated under the hashtag #janaausKassel (Jana from Kassel). Even die tabloid newspaper Bild, not known weil das its subtlety, called ns comparison “in bad taste”. Ns German international minister Heiko Maas accused ns protester of “unacceptable historical amnesia” und of downplaying ns Holocaust. “Nothing,” he tweeted, “connects corona protests to members des the resistance. Nothing!”

Germany’s facility relationship with its past

Anti-lockdown demonstrations have been walking on throughout Germany due to the fact that June, coming zu a head in August wie protestors supposedly tried zu storm die parliament building in Berlin. Die protests space part von a motion called Überquerung des gedankens (lateral thinkers) that unites various political groups, channelling outrage weist what is seen as in infringement on polite liberties. Though also associated with covid-19 conspiracy theories, it gift itself together a motion fighting to defensive freedom.

At the heart des concerns about an emerging “corona dictatorship” ist the neu Infection Protection regulation passed by the German parliament. This allows ns government kommen sie pursue anti-coronavirus measures even if that means restricting some constitutional freedoms. Some have compared it to die 1933 permitting Act that provided Adolf Hitler, as chancellor, the energie to enact legislations without die approval von parliament, successfully enshrining his dictatorship in law. Political leaders such together Maas have strenuously rejected any kind of equivalence.

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It’s possible kommen sie see, bei this context, how ns protester might have come up with her comparison. She appears to lakers herself as a young woman stand up zum liberty versus what ist perceived as die government imposing unconstitutional restrictions on citizens’ freedoms. Evidently, many in her audience agreed, as cheers of encouragement can be clearly heard bei the background.

Others seen the remarks as bei appropriation des another person’s amazing bravery and suffering, that they lack finesse or nuance, creating a reductive historic parallel bolzen a young woman who was guillotined for speaking out versus the nazi- state, and a young frau exercising produziert right to free speech really publicly und freely in a democracy. Jana native Kassel faced die collective ire von the internet, however she doesn’t run ns risk of being beheaded weil das stating produziert views.

Historical comparisons: incentive or trivialisation?

In Germany, it’s straightforward to lakers why die comparison through Scholl made civilization angry. There, she ist a household nennen and, alongside anne Frank, she has come to be a social icon – the embodiment of resilience und hope in the challenge of nazi- atrocities. Postwar German memory culture has been dominated by debates about how to remember ns past, about what is acceptable or taboo. End 75 years since the ende of the second welt war, these arguments remain as politically charged and potent together ever.

Maas’s comments indicate that there is something untouchable about figures favor Scholl and Frank. It implies a consensus that over there are people with whom it zu sein never socially, politically or even morally acceptable kommen sie compare yourself. By putting figures like Scholl top top a pedestal, über making lock untouchable, we risk shedding sight von them as individuals and as historic agents.

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Scholl was extraordinary in standing up to Nazism, yet she was so extremely relatable. She ist inspiring due to the fact that she walk what others might or would certainly not, und because she was a regular person at die same time. Jana native Kassel have to be allowed to identify through that if she desires to, also if ns comparison zu sein crass.

There is a balance zu be struck somewhere here. It ist hard to learn native historical figures whose lives und legacy room reduced to silent and unattainable human monuments, either with a misguided comparison, or von suggesting that such comparisons kann never it is in valid. Die furore about Jana from Kassel could be ns beginning von such a debate rather 보다 necessarily the end of it. To do justice zu Scholl und figures prefer her, the necessary kommen sie use this experience as a basis for dialogue and a an ext serious engagement with voices from the past.