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PETA Germany’s Holocaust Display Banned

Written by PETA | March 27, 2009

Back in 2004, PETA launched our Holocaust on Your Plate (HOYP) traveling display, which juxtaposes images of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms with images of humans in Nazi concentration camps. The display was inspired by a passage from Nobel-prize–winning Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer’s book, The Letter Writer: “In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” This struck a chord with one of our Jewish staffers, who proposed the idea of creating a display that he hoped would encourage people to consider that the same mindset that allows the routine and systematic murder of animals also allows the routine and systematic murder of human beings.

The HOYP display—which was also funded by a Jewish PETA member—traveled all over the U.S., where it sparked a tremendous amount of debate and discussion about both animal rights and human rights issues. Then across the pond, PETA Germany took the idea and ran with it. And that’s where the trouble began. Yesterday, Germany’s high court banned PETA Germany’s Holocaust display, stating that it would have made “the fate of the victims of the Holocaust appear banal and trivial.”

This ruling left the staffers of our German affiliate scratching their heads, because the display only renders the humans’ suffering “banal and trivial” if the animals’ suffering is considered banal and trivial. Which is the whole point of the display …

Anyway, PETA Germany is, of course, appealing the ruling, and it is confident that free speech will win out in the end.

So what do you think, PETA Files readers? Did the campaign go too far? Was the German high court justified in banning it—or should free speech have reigned supreme?

Written by Amanda Schinke

Commenting is closed.
  • Colours says:

    I am a Jew and I found the Holocaust on Your Plate campaign very moving and thought provoking, so much so that I joined PETA at once. At the technical level, the slaughter of Jews and others considered “subhuman” (Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, etc) was based entirely on the technology of the assembly-line abattoirs. More to the point though – the parallels I saw were not between the victims but the perpetrators. A person who can so suppress his natural compassion to treat a living, breathing, suffering animal as an economic unit can just as easily find a rationalisation to treat his neighbour the same way. Every form of racism or other form of discrimination is based on depersonalising the victim. Once a Jew or a Tutsi or a pig is declared simply to be an object, any violence against him or her can be rationalised. That, to me, was the revelation of the HOYP campaign.

  • Speculatively concerned says:

    It is sad what any one in this world will do, but i suppose it is human nature how ever sad it may be.

  • Em says:

    I think if done tactfully this display could be a poweful reminder of the tragedies caused by hatred and indifference.

  • Bob says:

    Soooo…because a Jew proposed the project and an another Jew funded it, it’s suddenly okay to make such a cruel, insensitive display? I don’t think so. FYI, I am an animal rights vegetarian.

  • Mike says:

    So you see no difference between farming chickens and the systematic genocide of the Jews, homosexuals,gypsies,mentally and physically handicapped,Jehovah Witnesses,etc?You people are truly sick in the head.Then again I guess babies being used for machine gun targets isn’t that bad of a thing.Or gas chambers.Or death by starvation.

  • Kurt K says:

    Nice post Kate! Mark I hope that you are trying to make a joke. If you really believe that then you have problems. Good day sir.

  • Kate says:

    Come on you surely realised that this campaign was going to upset a lot of people. Did it not occur to you that you by this article at least are not only comparing the suffering of the people in Treblinka Belsen and all the other camps to that of animals being slaughted for food which I am very much against having been a vegetarian since I was 12 however whilst I do not dispute the fact that animals suffer greatly in slaughterhouses I don’t think they can be said to suffer equally to those people who were put into the german camps but also that you were comparing them as a people to pigs which to those of the Jewish faith would be highly insulting. Lets have some context here animal cruelty is horrible and in an ideal world shouldn’t happen animals dying is sad and upsetting however whilst I would be hugely upset if my cat was run over and killed it would not even begin to compare to the same thing happening to my daughter. People are not comparable to animals.

  • Mark says:

    That’s wrong KurtGermany was the victim of WW11.Germany starting the war is one of the biggest political lies of our times.The anti German anti Hitler propaganda is relentless.

  • Kurt K says:

    Thats right Mark make Germany the victim of WWII. The fact is Germany started the war. The Wermacht and the SS Panzer divisions slaughtered untold millions of Russian Polish Belgium French and Czechloslovokian civilians and many more other nationalities. World War II was a war of attrition. Any war of that magnitude becomes that. You have to destroy the will of the people and the production capabilities of your enemies industrial centers. War is hell but make no mistake who started WWII. Its easy for people like you to trivialize the Holocaust and compare it to animal slaughtered for food. Its easy because you weren’t there you didn’t lose your entire family and then spend 6 years in a concentration camp. I didn’t either but I have studied this in college and I have since read about it. Read the memoirs of people who survived and tell me this is the same thing. I know you can produce a few survivors that are sympathetic to your cause but I be willing to bet the overwhelmingly vast majority wouldn’t be so receptive comparing their hell to chickens and cows.

  • Mark says:

    What about the holocaust upon the German people in World War 2. What about the fire bombing of Dresden on February 13 1945 and many other German cities bombed and hundreds of thousands of German people killed. This was the holocaust of the second world war.

  • Patti Huisse says:

    I go to Germany a lot and I see a country thanksfully light years away from its abominable past. Yet this decision from the High court is incredibly disappointing and a real step backwards. The truth is plain for all to see why deny the obvious ? Germany of all countries should want to treat animals with care and respect.

  • Jason Platt says:

    I am Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor who has since passed away. I strongly support Peta’s display and feel it’s unfortunate that some people still don’t understand that all living creatures are deserving of our respect. It brings to mind a famous Holocaustrelated quote about indifference. I will paraphrase it and relate it to animals. First they came after the ants and I was not an ant so I did nothing. Then they went after the mice and I was not a mouse so I did nothing. Then they went after the elephants and I was not an elephant so I did nothing. Then they went after the human beings like me and there was no one left to stop it. I’m not sure I got the quote exactly right but I think it makes the point nevertheless.

  • carol says:

    Peta is right on about this one a matter of fact factory farm killing the way animals are procesed now to be killed I say procesed because thats what Natzies called thier victims I t was known as industrilied killing and the same grusome idea was applied to killing of animal life starting mostly in the early 50 s right after WW2 Prior to this most animals lived on the farms with pig pens hen houses and cattle barns the way most of us piture a farm This abomination cruel factory farms should be put out business especilly when you know thier idea actually came from the most evil regrime ever known to man came from the Natzies I wouldn think thats all the more Gremany would regonize this for what it is the evil of these factory farms of death

  • Susan Duffy says:

    WELL DONE PETA! The comparison between Concentration Camps and the torture perpetrated on defenceless animals for human items is perfect it is classic NAZI behaviour. When homo Sapiens use animals for food leather goods fur ivory cash sale of baby monkeys parrots puppy mills animal testingetc. it is exactly the level of exploitation that was utilized by the NAZI’s with the same military precision and horrific results. I suspect in 100 years if Planet Earth is still around the beings left in place will look back on us and say we were a horrible pack of bullies and they would be right. I reiterate WELL DONE PETA. It is also a pleasure to read this forum and feel the empathy of other humans who are not part of the bully mentality. I hope our offspring are part of the new world order of Vegetarians who will value all animals and environments assuming there are any animals left for them to value!

  • Brett says:

    To answer the question yes the court went too far and no PETA Germany did not go too far. This is a lame attempt by the courts to not show the suffering of animals in the same light as the suffering of human. The German court should be ashamed of itself and I’m sure that the appeal will win.

  • Brianna Riccio says:

    “The greatness or a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Ghandi

  • Iris says:

    I don’t think the PETA campaign went too far. I think that Germany is very careful when dealing with the Holocaust and anything that relates to it. Nevertheless the decision is insensitive and wrong. The campaign would have made the fate of the victims of the Holocaust appear banal and trivial only if we think that the suffering and pain of animals are banal and trivial. And they’re not. Animals feel pain and fear just like we humans do. I don’t see much difference between the Holocaust and the cruel exploitation of animals nowadays. I know that such statements cause an uproar but they’re true…. Those who disagree simply don’t like what they see when they look in the mirror. My grandparents’ family was murdered by the Nazis so I am quite aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. But I am also aware of the horrors that take place behind the walls of slaughterhouses and factory farms. And it’s just as bad. For all those who oppose to the comparison of animal suffering to the Holocaust read Charles Patterson’s book Eternal Treblinka a term first used by author Isaac BashevisSinger a vegetarian and animal rights activist who also won a Noble Prize. Patterson explains it better than I do.

  • Suzanne Dragan says:

    As a Jew as an Animal Human Rights activist I support this campaign. Holocausts exit every day for animals humans in the World. Obviously we have not learned from the Nazi Holocaust of WWII when Jews Gypsys Gays Disabled peoples others were murdered as is often said “like animals”. Keep at it.

  • jan roose says:

    It should NOT have been forbidden. We have FREEDOM OF SPEECH !!! This is unbelievable. The judge is obviously a carnivore and in his eyes an animal cannot be compared to a human. In my eyes the REAL BEAST is the last one of the two.

  • Saucy says:

    lurking girl Do you really believe that God was pleased when his favored son probably the son who gave him the most love the most time the most reverence when he took the most beautiful little lamb and put a knife through the little lambs throat? Do you really believe that a God famous for Love Mercy Kindness Generousity The “Fruit” of the Spirit The Gifts of the Spirit would ever require such a deed? If you do Your in the Majority.

  • Arlene Steinberg says:

    I am Jewish and have older family members who lost relatives and friends in the Holocaust. I have always seen strong similarities between this and the treatment of animals in factory farming today. Jews were described as being loaded into trains “like cattle.” PETA’s use of that connection is uncomfortably accurate and it is that discomfort level that A upsets some people and B makes others think further about the similarities. Remember that Jews and gypsies and handicapped and other socalled undesireables were killed in Nazi Germany because the people doing the killing were brainwashed into believing that these people were less worthy of life than other people. Factory farms kill animals by promoting the idea that they’re less worthy of life than humans and it is acceptable to kill them to eatwearwhatever. Who decided that the divine spark of life is less for a cow or a pig than for a human? I’m sure to that animal its life is as precious to it as mine is to me. As long as any group of people sees another group of people as less than human or views another species as less deserving of consideration then we are not anything remotely resembling the higher form of life that we think we are.