The conductor, in a Covid conversation with the Salzburg chief Helga Rabl-Stadler, has made an unguarded and unfounded comparison between the present pandemic and the second world war.
Helga Rabl-Stadler: Daniel Barenboim, how would you describe the year 2020 in retrospect?
Daniel Barenboim: I think it was a particularly difficult year. There has never been a global problem of this dimension. Even in World War II, there were places where one could escape. Today, we are all slaves to this pandemic. There are very different aspects of this we must keep in mind:
Of course the first consideration must be health, all over the world and for everyone.
The second consideration must be the huge economic problems. It is terrible that so many people have been driven into poverty by the pandemic.
And third, one must not forget that this pandemic attacked all of us. We cannot relax our thinking. A great nervousness has gripped all our human and professional relationships. There are people who are more fearful than others, but we are all under pressure.
On reflection, he may wish to revise this metaphor. Six million died in the Holocaust because no other country would accept them. Million of soldiers on both sides died because they had no alternative. Millions of civilians died because there was no shelter from bombs or invading armies.
This is a really unwise statement.