Australian doctor says Holocaust victims were better off than Nauru refugees

Dr Paul Bauert
Dr Paul Bauert Photo credit: Twitter/ @mukabout

A prominent Australian doctor has compared refugees denied entry to Australia to victims of the Holocaust - and concluded those in the Holocaust were better off.

Dr Paul Bauert, a president of the Australian Medical Association told Sky News on Monday, that asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island were worse off than those in concentration camps due to the "lack of certainty" they face. 

"The main problem that these people have is a lack of meaning, a lack of any end, and this more than anything causes severe mental health damage," he told the news network on Monday. 

"Even those who knew they were finally about to be condemned to the gas chamber at least found some sense of relief in knowing what was happening."

The Daily Telegraph later published a table, comparing the facilities of Nauru versus Auschwitz. It was not well received.

"If 'at least it's not as bad as Auswitz' is the justification for the conditions, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest it's a fairly low marker" wrote one Twitter user.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, the chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, Australia's premier civil rights organisation said Dr Bauert's comments were a "trivialisation and a debasement of the memory of the victims."

"Why do public figures think that it is acceptable to use this unprecedented tragedy as a way to bring attention to issues they are passionate about, and to score a point?," Dr Abramovich said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"We urge Dr Bauert to  learn more about the Holocaust and about the death camps, and to talk to the survivors so as to understand how his comments are not only a gross distortion of the what took place during WWII, but a trivialisation and a debasement of the memory of the victims." 

Dr Bauert later apologised for his comparison on Twitter, calling Auschwitz a "humanitarian disgrace."

"My comments this morning were intended to reflect the writings on an eminent Jewish psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz," he wrote "The words I used did not convey the complexity of what he wrote. My deep apologies for causing offence - Auschwitz was a humanitarian disgrace."

Dr Abramovich said the Anti-Defamation Commission was glad of the apology, and hopes Dr Bauert refrains from using such inflammatory references in the future.



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