In September 2021, internet users enthusiastically shared a photograph that appeared to show an anti-vaccine protester holding a sign that likened healthcare professionals to Nazi war criminals, simply for providing voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations.
On Sept. 19, a popular post on Reddit contained the picture, which showed a woman standing in what appeared to be a park, holding a sign that referred to the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II, and read:
“Nurses & doctors who deliver the COVID-19 jab will be held accountable just like Nuremberg.”
The sign prompted outrage and bemusement not only because it implicitly likened the actions of healthcare professionals — who administered safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations — to Nazis who had orchestrated the murder, torture, exile, and imprisonment of millions of people, but also because it could be construed as advocating physical violence against those doctors and nurses, since 12 of the Nazi leaders tried at Nuremberg were executed.
The sign was also real, and the picture was not the result of digital editing. As a result, we are issuing a rating of “True.”
The photograph of the “Nuremberg” sign was first posted online by Philip Blair, a former conspiracy theorist from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who now studies conspiracy theories and cults and, under the moniker “Skeptic of the North,” regularly posts videos debunking prevalent strands of misinformation.
Earlier on Sept. 19, Blair posted the picture to the “Northern Ireland” section of Reddit, along with the caption “Local genius at yesterday’s anti vax rally, Stormont Belfast.”
Blair directed Snopes to the original source of the picture — a Sept. 18 “Facebook Live” video streamed by Alan Robinson, a pro-cannabis activist in Northern Ireland who also regularly posts anti-vaccine content and conspiracy theories. The picture was therefore a screenshot taken from Robinson’s video, which was filmed at an anti-vaccine protest on Sept. 18, 2021, which took place at Stormont (seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly) in Belfast.
Our own screenshots of the video clearly show the same woman holding the same sign, with different postures and facial expressions — thereby definitively establishing its authenticity:
Sources:kwkierjote. “I’m Done. I’m so Done….” R/Facepalm, 19 Sept. 2021, www.reddit.com/r/facepalm/comments/pr74zi/im_done_im_so_done/.SkepOfTheNorth. “Local Genius at Yesterdays Anti Vax Rally, Stormont Belfast.” R/Northernireland, 19 Sept. 2021, www.reddit.com/r/northernireland/comments/pr3jf4/local_genius_at_yesterdays_anti_vax_rally/.The Nuremberg Trials — United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. https://www.ushmm.org/collections/bibliography/the-nuremberg-trials. Accessed 21 Sept. 2021.World, Weed. “A Friend in Need – Alan Robinson Aka NI Canna Guy by PSY23.” Weed World Magazine, 2 Aug. 2019, https://www.weedworldmagazine.org/2019/08/02/a-friend-in-need-alan-robinson-aka-ni-canna-guy-by-psy23/.