News station sorry for using Holocaust badge in Yom Kippur report

Andrew Tobin

A WGN-TV anchor reporting the start of Yom Kippur in Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 22, 2015.

A WGN-TV anchor reporting the start of Yom Kippur in Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 22, 2015.

(JTA) — A Chicago news station used a graphic of a yellow badge, like those the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust, to illustrate its report on the start of Yom Kippur.

Shaped like the Star of David and featuring the word “Jude,” German for “Jew,” the badge appeared on WGN-TV Tuesday night, ahead of the Jewish Day of Atonement. Behind the badge in the graphic were concentration-camp-uniform stripes; below it were the words “Yom Kippur.”

Viewers quickly responded on social media.

WGN sought atonement for the graphic on Wednesday. The anchor of the Yom Kippur report said on air:

“Major correction tonight: We couldn’t see this from the set here, but in our story about Yom Kippur we apparently used a symbol that is extremely offensive to the Jewish community. We mistakenly showed a symbol used by Nazi Germany to identify Jews. We deeply apologize for that error.”

The station also apologized on Twitter:

ADVERTISEMENT
New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

And at length on its website.

To our WGN News Viewers,

Last night we ran a story to recognize Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. The artwork chosen to accompany the story came from a graphics image bank.

Regrettably, we failed to recognize that the image was an offensive Nazi symbol.

We are extremely embarrassed and we deeply apologize to our viewers and to the Jewish community for this mistake.

Ignorance is not an excuse.

Please know we are reviewing our in house policies and changes have already been made to make sure a hurtful oversight like this never happens again.

Thank you for your understanding. We promise to do better.

The Nazis began legally compelling Polish Jews to wear identifying badges following the German invasion of their country in 1939. By 1942, Germany and the states under its control were requiring Jews to wear the badges. The sole exception was Denmark, where King Christian X is said to have threatened to wear the badge himself if it were imposed on his country’s Jews.

Scholars of the Holocaust say the badges were a means of isolating and dehumanizing European Jewry — a step toward the Final Solution. The practice of making Jews wear identifying clothing dates back to the Middle Ages.

Buzzfeed has posted videos of the original broadcast and the apology.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Sign up for Your Morning Light