Numerous Republican Party organizations have shared a false meme that attacks gun violence prevention efforts by blaming the Holocaust on Jewish people who supposedly “gave up their firearms to Hitler.” Facebook has been a cesspool of misinformation over the years, including about the Holocaust.
The GOP-promoted meme includes a picture of a large pile of shoes belonging to Holocaust victims with the caption: “To all the kids that walked out of school to protest guns. These are the shoes of Jews that gave up their firearms to Hitler. They were led into gas chambers, murdered and buried in mass graves. Pick up a history book and you’ll realize what happens when u give up freedoms and why we have them.” Versions of the meme have been spread throughout social media at least since school walkouts in response to gun violence in the spring of 2018 after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida.
The Anti-Defamation League stated in 2013 that “the small number of personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remaining in Germany in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state. When they had weapons, Jews could symbolically resist, as they did in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and elsewhere, but could not stop the Nazi genocide machine. Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.”
Numerous Republican Party organizations have shared the false meme attacking Holocaust victims in the past few years. Here are examples from the LaSalle County Republican Party in Illinois; the Washtenaw County Republican Committee in Michigan; the Becker County Republican Party in Minnesota; the Camden County Republican Committee in New Jersey; the Cabell GOP in West Virginia; and the Republican Party of Wood County in Wisconsin.