The Holocaust and SCA Vaccine Mandates

The Holocaust and SCA Vaccine Mandates

  1. Introduction – Yad Vashem

In 2012, I took a ten day Taglit (Birthright) trip to Israel. I traveled with a group of other 23-26 year old American Jews from across the country, and experienced a nation which I had never been to but which had been part of my lexicon for as long as I could remember. As part of those 10 days, we visited Yad Vashem – the Israeli Holocaust museum.;

At the end of the very long walk through a very affecting tour of the museum, visitors are drawn to the final room. In it there is a cone shape on the ceiling, and a hole in the floor. You are instructed to look down into the hole, into the well, to look at the water reflecting what is above you. In the reflection of the water you see pictures–the faces of victims, hundreds of them, all looking up at you from the depths.

The very first picture I saw, staring at me from the water and across time, could have been my mother. I felt like my entire body had been punched, and I had tears in my eyes as I walked away.

After that we went to the Children’s exhibit. To get there we passed a piece of art I still remember vividly–pieces of rebar coming out of concrete, their ends roughly cut. This, we were told, represents what the Nazis tried to do to us by killing our children; because when you cut rebar, you cannot keep building.

The children’s exhibit is a long hallway of mirrors reflecting candlelight, zig zagging from the entrance to the exit. While you walk through and see thousands of candles reflected a voice reads the names, ages, and birthplaces of victims.

Needless to say, we were emotionally wrecked after that day. We all sat outside the children’s exhibit, just destroyed and gathering our emotions and our wits back as we tried to remember how to be human again. I will never forget the things I saw and felt inside that museum, a testimony to the time when a modern and civilized nation decided that my people were impure and needed to be purged from existence. A time which is still within living memory, albeit less and less so every day.


The SCA has passed some COVID restrictions which are designed to protect the populace. In Calontir starting next month you either have to show you are fully vaccinated, or show a negative COVID test from within the last 72 hours.

That’s it. Either a free, widely available, and safe vaccine that gives you a lovely little card you can have laminated or buy a pass for, or you have to prove you don’t have COVID. It is, honestly, the least that the SCA could have done to protect us, and what should have been in place since we were allowed to have events again.

And boy howdy are some people Big Mad about it.

There are some arguments against these rules that don’t make me so angry that I could spit. I think they’re bad arguments, but they don’t make me have a screaming fit. Let’s run through one, for example.

  1. “But it’s exclusionary…”

Yes, it is. The SCA is, on the whole, a fairly exclusive organization. Our current (much needed and very welcome) attempts at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, are designed to break down the barriers of implicit, accidental, structural, or overt racism, sexism, and bigotry that keep people from participating in the SCA. But the rest of the SCA? Pretty exclusionary.

Let’s look at all the things you need to do in order to officially attend an event in the Kingdom of Calontir. These are the listed requirements:

  • $10-20 site fee plus $5 non-member surcharge if not a member.
  • Attempt at pre-17th Century Clothing

And here are the unofficial things which are required to accomplish those:

  • Time off on a Saturday
  • A religious belief which allows you to travel and do things on a Saturday.[1]
  • Excess income to pay the site fee.
  • Excess income to pay for lunch and/or dinner, on or off site.
  • A car, or friends with a car.
  • The ability to sew, the excess income to purchase garb, or friends to give you the same things.
  • A body capable of maneuvering sites with often slow, or non-existent, disability accommodations.

And that’s just to attend. Want to be an officer? An additional cost per year (especially burdensome on college students or people living in different economies than America[2]), more meetings to drive through. Want to fight? For Armored you need: Helmet, kidney protection, hand protection, knee protection, throat/upper spine protection. For Rapier you need: Helmet, throat/upper spine protection, hand protection, and puncture resistant torso/vitals protection. You also, of course, need weapons for both. Which is going to run you several hundred dollars minimum[3], or dozens if not hundreds of extra hours of your time making it yourself (and learning the skills to do so).

And of course the SCA still chooses its crown through an Armored Combat tournament, meaning that the highest level of authority in the organization is exclusive to those who are skilled in one particular facet of the SCA, able bodied, and capable of winning one of if not the most competitive tournament in their Kingdom.

But that’s fine, apparently, as long as the SCA isn’t excluding people who don’t want to go get a free, safe, and widely available vaccine, or prove they don’t have COVID to go to an inside event and share oxygen with other people. That, not the ableism, not the inherent inability of certain religious groups to participate, not the paygate or often appearing classism, is the line too far on exclusion for them: Getting a vaccine against a pandemic which has currently killed most of three quarters of a million Americans.

Again, I don’t think it is a good argument, but it isn’t an argument that has me howling at the moon in rage.

  1. The One That Makes Me Howl at The Moon in Rage; or, How About I Tell You When Something Is Like the Fucking Holocaust and You Stop Using My People’s Greatest Tragedy Because You Had Some Feelings?

In the 1920s and 1930s, a group of Germans — and a lot of fucking people who supported them in other countries, whether actively or tacitly or through appeasement — decided that their bloodline was being polluted. That their great whiteness was being diluted by the existence of the impure, who were mongrels and making them mongrels. And that in order to protect their holy paleness needed to be exterminated.

And so Jews, Romani, homosexuals, and the disabled were rounded up and massacred for the circumstances of their birth, something they never chose and had no say in.

In 2021 during a global pandemic which has killed roughly 725,000 Americans and over 4.5 million people total, a group of people are choosing to not get a free, safe, and widely available vaccine. In response, they are facing consequences based on this choice. Those consequences would disappear at any moment if they chose to get a vaccine. And for the SCA would also disappear if they were willing to take the time and effort to instead get negative tests within a certain amount of time.

If you think those two groups of people, the Holocaust persecuted and the anti-Vaccine Americans, are the same, you’ve completely lost the fucking plot.

I did not choose to be born Jewish. And even if I had been raised Catholic (my father’s religion of birth), loved the Pope, and went to Mass every Sunday, guess what? The Nazis would have said I’m still a Jew and sent me to a camp. No person has ever chosen to be born Jewish, Romani, or Disabled. You can tell that both because no one chooses to be born at all, and because even if they did why the hell would you choose to be born into a group that so many people hate and want to murder? God above if I had a choice I’d have been born some boring brand of Protestant, and filthy rich.

Your choice not to get vaccinated or take tests, meanwhile, is absolutely a choice. You can choose differently. You just don’t want to.

I honestly and genuinely don’t know what to say to someone who decides that reaping the consequences of what they themselves have sown is somehow the same as people being rounded up and exterminated for their birth. I honestly and genuinely don’t know how to deal with someone who feels that having to prove they are safe to be around in the midst of the worst global health crisis in living memory is the same as the fucking kristallnacht and Judenstern.

Except to say this: It. Fucking. Isn’t.

My people’s tragedy is not your go to example for any time you don’t like a decision, or feel sad because you can’t do whatever you want whenever you want without any accountability while our Emergency Rooms are drowning.

How about this, guys. We’ll tell you when it is like the Holocaust. If you feel like something is like the Holocaust, look to see if thei populations that would have been massacred during the Holocaust are acting like it is. If they are? If the majority of them, the mainstream groups representing them, are? Cool, panic.

If not? If it’s only the fringe, or the disturbed, or the liars who are?

Keep the Holocaust out of your goddamn mouths.

[1] Allow me to, as always, point out that I could not participate meaningfully in the SCA if I was Orthodox Jewish or otherwise a shomer Shabbat.

[2] I still stand in awe of someone in the USA telling us in Thailand that a $50 per year membership wasn’t that bad, and sometimes you just have to save up for things that are important to you.

[3] And this assuming you buy used or with a friend discount. Buying off the shelf? Run that number up.

9 thoughts on “The Holocaust and SCA Vaccine Mandates”

  1. Go you. You said what I have been meaning to say, and not just in SCA settings.I intend to quote and cite you as needed.

  2. YES. Thank you. I wonder if you feel it worthwhile to also explore the idea that there are people in the SCA who claim to be fully vaccinated, but they have gotten BIG MAD at the idea that they must “show papers” to attend events now. So, to them, it isn’t getting vaccinated that is making them whine about the Holocaust, but the fact that they feel they are being forced to present “sensitive medical information” to people who are not qualified to handle said info, and who then “divide them into groups.” Because I have recently experienced someone who was arguing this and it made my BP soar.

    • Yeah, that. I’m still pissed at that person and will be until they honestly apologize. Until then, they no longer exist in my world.

  3. No persecuted, truly persecuted, group has ever compared their plight to another group’s. It cheapens and disenfranchises the truly persecuted. Thank you for saying much nicer the things many of us have wanted to say.

  4. My Grandfather escaped China during the Cultural Revolution, my Grandmother and Mom left before. He was a semi-nobly born Doctor.

    And I won’t compare what happened in China to the Holocaust. People complaining about mandates can shut up.

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