The use of a yellow Star of David to protest Germany’s new smoking ban has the country’s Jewish leaders fuming.
A company based in northwest Germany sold T-shirts featuring the word “smoker” in a yellow star.
Using the symbol is “brainless, brazen and tasteless,” Dieter Graumann, vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the DPA press agency.
The Web site selling the shirt was promptly shut down. The seller, Dennis Kramer, said the announcement on his site that 1,000 shirts had been sold already was “just an advertising ploy” and that no shirts had actually been sold.
Kramer told the DPA that he “wanted to show that smokers are being discriminated against in bars.” He said he never thought it would arouse the ire of the Central Council of Jews.
Nazis forced Jews in Germany and occupied countries to wear a yellow star in public as part of a systematic policy of humilation and extermination.
The smoking ban went into effect on Jan. 1 in restaurants and bars in most German states.
The local state prosecutor’s office reportedly is looking into whether there is cause for charges to be filed against Kramer.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.