Holocaust Survivor Links Human and Animal Oppression

Alex Hershaft reveals the “striking similarities” between factory farms and the Holocaust.


Holocaust survivor and founder of animal-rights organization Farmed Animal Rights Movement (FARM) Alex Hershaft recently spoke to Jewish media outlet Jewish Telegraphic Agency about the motivation behind his life’s work. “Millions knew about the death camps in their midst but pretended not to notice,” Hershaft said, “just as we pretend not to notice factory farms, slaughterhouses and factories in our neighborhoods.” While this linking of animal oppression to the Holocaust has been deemed controversial, Hershaft explains that his experience of surviving the brutal historical ethnic cleansing has inspired his fight for animal rights. “I noted with horror the striking similarities between what the Nazis did to my family and my people,” Hershaft says, “and what we do to animals we raise for food, the branding or tattooing of serial numbers to identify victims, the use of cattle cars to transport victims to their death, the crowded housing of victims in wood crates, the arbitrary designation of who lives and who dies—the Christian lives, the Jew dies; the dog lives, the pig dies.” The 82-year-old regularly participates in protests at slaughterhouses, organizes vegan events through FARM and Jewish Veg (where he serves as an advisor), and gives lectures where he urges listeners—particularly of the Jewish faith—to go vegan as an effort to end oppression in all forms.