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Well Being

Auschwitz Museum condemns Ohio congressman who compared vaccine cards to the Holocaust

auschwitz memorial, warren davidson, vaccine mandates

The Auschwitz Museum responds to Davidson's tweet.

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio, sparked considerable outrage on Wednesday when he compared proof of vaccination cards to the Gesundheitspass, a health pass that Nazis demanded people carry during Hitler’s reign of terror.

His tweet was a response to Washington, D.C.’s new mandate that anyone 12 and older will need to show proof of at least one vaccine shot before entering restaurants and other indoor venues.

Davidson tweeted an image of a Gesundheitspass along with the caption, “This has been done before" as a response to a tweet about the mandate from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. He then took things a step further by doubling down on his tweet with an explanation.

"Let's recall that the Nazis dehumanized Jewish people before segregating them, segregated them before imprisoning them, imprisoned them before enslaving them, and enslaved them before massacring them," Davidson tweeted. "Dehumanizing and segregation are underway - and wrong."


By invoking the Holocaust, Davidson broke the first rule of politics, never compare anything or anyone to the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis. The only logical comparison that can be drawn between the Nazis and Washington, D.C. is that they both required people to present official documents with information about their health.

The city of Washington, D.C. is trying to keep people healthy by preventing the spread of a deadly disease. The Nazis were running a campaign of racial purity that would lead to the deaths of millions of people. The two aren’t remotely alike.

Davidson’s statement wasn’t just ridiculous, it was dangerous as well. It trivialized the unspeakable suffering that was caused by Hitler. When we downplay the seriousness of such an event, we embolden those who wish to see it happen again.

It also falsely turns those who are unvaccinated into victims when they are the people who are much more likely to cause the spread of the disease and put others’ health at risk. Davidson’s tweet is also playing up the idea that the unvaccinated are somehow righteous martyrs and victims of an authoritarian state. When people get a feeling of self-righteousness over their decisions, they are much less likely to change their minds.

Let's face it, people who incorrectly believe they are standing up to people as bad as Nazis feel pretty good about themselves.

Davidson’s tweet was criticized by the Auschwitz Museum in Poland for “exploiting the tragedy.”

Auschwitz was the site of the Nazi’s most notorious concentration camp where more than 1.1 million people were exterminated.

Davidson’s tweet was also condemned by Yad Vashem, which said he denigrated the “memory of victims and survivors.” Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Jews who were murdered and honoring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors.

On Thursday, Davidson did something rather shocking in today’s political climate, he apologized for his tweet. It wasn’t a full-throated mea culpa, however, as he clung to the idea that there was some association between both health passes.

He started it with a quote from Mark Twain, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes."

"I had hoped to point that out," Davidson wrote. "Bad things happen when governments dehumanize people. Sometimes, there is a next step - to systematically segregate them. Unfortunately, any reference to how the Nazis actually did that prevents a focus on anything other than the Holocaust. I appreciate my Jewish friends who have explained their perspectives and feel horrible that I have offended anyone. My sincere apologies."

Davidson may have apologized for his comparison, but he doesn't seem to understand the deeper error of his ways. We need politicians who represent large factions of unvaccinated people to speak to them honestly about the benefits of vaccination and the good it does for public health. Instead, he chooses to play to their self-righteous victimhood, which only exacerbates the pandemic and makes it necessary for governments to mandate vaccine passes in the first place.

Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

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Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.

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Woman shares the powerful impact of a 'hardcore' gym bro's words of encouragement

Previous experience had her feeling nervous when the man approached her at the gym, but what he said brought her to tears.

Steph shares how a few simple words made all the difference.

Going to the gym can be a daunting prospect for a lot of people. It shouldn't be—the whole point of going to the gym is to exercise, which is something that should universally be applauded—but sometimes it can feel like there's pressure to be at a certain fitness level or have a certain physique before stepping foot in the door.

For people who are heavier, gym culture can be especially intimidating. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to practice kindness and fatphobia appears to remain a fairly tolerated prejudice. That shouldn't stop people with big bodies from enjoying all that fitness centers have to offer, but all too often, it does.

It hasn't stopped a woman named Steph from working out regularly at her gym, albeit with some trepidation. As she shared in a hugely viral TikTok, she's experienced some unkind behavior at the gym that made her nervous when a man approached her recently. But her description of the encounter ultimately demonstrated how powerful a few positive words can be.

In a video made from her car just after leaving the gym, Steph explained that a "hardcore" gym-goer who is "super tough" and covered in tattoos had came up to talk to her. Her initial response was to be afraid of what he was going to say to her, based on previous experience. She shared in the video how hard it's been to stay steady with her workouts, especially with medications she's on making her body hold onto weight, but she's been working hard to be consistent. She steeled herself for whatever he might say.

She didn't expect it to be this: "I've seen you in here every week, almost every day. I've seen you in here every week—and I'm proud of you." Nor did she expect that such simple words of encouragement could make such a huge impact.

Watch her tell the story:

@steph5468

#gymprogress #workputjourney #keepgoing #healingjourney

People had a lot to say about the interchange and Steph's emotional response to it.

"People do not realize, how one person can change everything," wrote one commenter.

"Girl you are CRUSHING IT," wrote another. "That man you encountered is what real men do. Encourage. Support. Be human! It isn’t hard! ❤️"

"No one knows your story, your struggles. You're doing the dang thing and that takes courage and strength. You. Keep. Going. I'm proud of you too!" shared another.

More and more words of encouragement flooded Steph's comment section, and people on Upworthy's Instagram page weighed in as well.

"I'm a fitness coach and this made me cry 😢 just having someone say they are proud of you can move mountains for so many of us who didn’t/ don’t get the praise growing up," wrote one person.

"Who knows? He may be going through something too and saw a determined, consistent, fellow traveler," wrote another. "You share your Truth so powerfully. You may not know how many people will see this and be encouraged by your honesty. I’m in awe that you show up for YOURSELF every day. And as for the rude and ill-mannered? Well they struggle too—just to be decent kind human beings. Some people have not been shown Empathy and therefore do not know how to use that muscle. You are beautiful, smart, articulate, wise and a woman who knows where she’s headed. Keep walking, head up knowing there are many many more who do empathize, who see you and are on your side❤️"

"It’s amazing to think about how this man’s single act of kindness, spread through you to affect us all in a positive way," shared another. "This made all of our days, and I’m crying tears of joy while I write this. Please thank him from all of us the next time you see him, if you’re comfortable with that. And thank you for sharing! ❤️"

Indeed, thanks to both Steph and the hardcore, tattooed gym bro for being wonderful examples for us all. We never know what a small act of kindness or a few words of encouragement will do to make someone's life significantly better, but it's always worth trying.


This article originally appeared on 9.5.23

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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