FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2020
PHOENIX – The House Democratic Caucus today strongly rebuked a Republican colleague who on Monday compared local mask requirements to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the forced tattooing of Holocaust victims by Nazis in 1930s Germany. Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, made the comments during remarks at a Labor Day rally at the Capitol protesting the use of masks. While more than 5,200 Arizonans have died from COVID-19, the spread of the virus has slowed dramatically from a high-point this summer with the help of widespread mask usage and social distancing. Speaking for the Caucus, Reps. Aaron Lieberman and Alma Hernandez, who are both Jewish, said Fillmore owes Holocaust survivors an apology. Their statements:
Rep. Aaron Lieberman, D-Paradise Valley
"The Jewish people who were tattooed during the Holocaust were being inventoried. They were being denied their basic humanity and marked for murder just for the crime of existing. It's beyond offensive and wrong to compare that stain on history to a public health effort that is designed to stop the spread of a deadly virus, to save lives, and to return our world to normal, an effort that is working, we might add. I count John Fillmore as a friend, and I'm hoping this was just a bad day, but there's no excuse for ever using this type of analogy in any public setting."
Rep. Alma Hernandez, D-Tucson
"It’s appalling that we have elected officials who continue to use the atrocities of the Holocaust as comparisons to issues they don’t like. I don’t understand how anyone could use the public health measures taken to keep us safe and say it’s like 'Germany, when people on their bodies were tattooed.' This is disgusting. No one is trying to kill you. No one is selecting you for death because of your religion. Yes, the virus takes lives, but there is no evil here, only tragedy. Public health experts are trying to keep you from dying. This isn't about 'freedoms.' As a Jew and a member of the legislative body who has dealt with this behavior before, I want my colleagues to know it’s offensive and minimizes the horrors so many were forced into. Please stop using the Holocaust to make a point. Holocaust survivors deserve an apology as I'm sure they don't look down at their tattoo every day and say someone was trying to keep me alive."