Religion & Beliefs

German Smokers’ Rights Group Brings Back The Judenstern

Jewish-German community leaders are pissed. A smoking ban just went into effect in Germany and opponents of said ban have been selling t-shirts online that feature the ol' Judenstern we had to wear back in the day. Only, instead of … Read More

By / January 15, 2008

Jewish-German community leaders are pissed.

A smoking ban just went into effect in Germany and opponents of said ban have been selling t-shirts online that feature the ol' Judenstern we had to wear back in the day. Only, instead of "Jude", the star on the t-shirts said "Raucher" (smoker), to suggest that discrimination against smokers is not unlike anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany.

The shirts went on sale online in the days before the smoking ban in ten out of Germany's sixteen states, which went into effect on New Year's Day. Dennis Kramer of DPM, the marketers behind the shirt said citizens needed to be aware of "disgraceful discrimination against smokers" in bars and restaurants and called the shirts "the most aggressive smokers' resistance shirt available" but added he only "wanted to show that smokers are being discriminated against in bars". The website has since been shut down, but a couple of websites seem to still be selling the shirts.

Germany's Central Council of Jews called the t-shirts "crude, brainless and tasteless" and added that anyone who "compares the plight of the Jews during the Third Reich to smokers who are thought to be discriminated against" to be people who have learned "absolutely nothing". Dieter Graumann, the deputy president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said, "This is an absolute abuse of the Jewish genocide… It is a scandal to exploit the murder of the Jews in order to symbolize the people's desire to smoke." But, it might be more than just a matter of taste– In Itzehoe, where DPM is based, prosecutors confirmed a formal investigation has been launched to establish whether they could prosecute, being that the display of Nazi symbols is prohibited under German law. Obviously.