Protesters demonstrating against the covid-19 restrictions in December last year Photo: Guy Wolff/ Maison Moderne

Protesters demonstrating against the covid-19 restrictions in December last year Photo: Guy Wolff/ Maison Moderne

A Luxembourg court last week fined a man €750 for comparing covid-19 restrictions to the Holocaust, the first verdict of its kind during the pandemic.

Politicians and WW2 commemoration groups had heavily criticised the use of Nazi-era comparisons by anti-vaccine protesters online and during marches and demonstrations.

The public prosecutor’s office in Diekirch had pushed for a €2,000 fine against the man from Wiltz who had posted pictures online of a yellow Star of David with the word “unvaccinated”, using the emblem to compare the government’s CovidCheck scheme the persecution of Jews during the WW2.

He had also compared covid-19 vaccination passports to the so-called “Ahnenpass”, a Nazi document that traced the German blood and heritage of individuals, said the Luxemburger Wort, which reported on the case.

Denying, trivialising or justifying war crimes, genocide or other crimes against humanity is a punishable offence under Luxembourg law with sentences of up two years in prison and fines of €25,000.

The verdict could set a precedent, as it marked the first sentencing of a person who had trivialised the Holocaust by comparing it to the persecution of the Jews during WW2.

A decision is still pending in another case. The Luxembourg public prosecutor’s office has demanded a six-month sentence against Peter Freitag, who stands accused of inciting hatred and public disorder in connection to the covid-19 protests that had turned violent last year.

Freitag, together with Jean-Marie Jacoby, is also for violating covid-19 measures, such as the curfew, mask mandate or drinking alcohol in public when this was forbidden under pandemic rules.

Luxembourg had previously upheld a against a general practitioner for spreading covid-19 misinformation and violating the profession’s code of conduct on 13 counts.  

And the public prosecutor’s office in May against a man who sent death threats to prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) and health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) in response to pandemic restrictions. A verdict is pending.