The unexpected death of a doctor in Chemnitz, Germany, has been used by social media users to reignite conspiracies of a COVID-19 vaccine “genocide”.
Dr Thomas Jendges, the managing director of Chemnitz Clinic, died in early November, according to an online obituary and the mayor of Chemnitz (here and here).
“Yesterday evening we had a long talk about the difficult Corona situation,” said Mayor Sven Schulze in a statement on Nov. 2. “I am deeply affected, and my thoughts and deepest compassion are with his family and friends these minutes.”
English-language social media posts have since expanded – without evidence – on the news, to falsely claim Jendges had left a note and had expressed negative sentiments in the days before his death against COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Chief of a Clinic in Chemnitz, Germany committed suicide. In a letter found on the scene, he explains that he can no longer be part of the genocide,” said one Facebook user (here).
People leaving comments beneath the post also speculated that Jendges had posted a video clip online in which he said “it’s not about a [corona]virus.”
The video, seen by tens of thousands of people (here), shows a man speaking in German, disputing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the claims made by social media users are not based in fact.
Spokespersons for both the city of Chemnitz and the local police force told Reuters that while it was true Dr Jendges had taken his own life, they were not aware of any note left behind related to the case.
Moreover, the video being shared online does not show Jendges, but rather another German doctor, called Guido C. Hofmann (bit.ly/3xh3VOg).
Hofmann had posted the clip to his Telegram channel in September 2020 (t.me/drguidohofmann/2270).
On Nov. 22, Hofman again posted to his Telegram, saying links made between his video and Jendges were misinformation.
He offered a selfie and screenshots from the video for comparison (t.me/drguidohofmann/115210).
There is no evidence to suggest Jendges was opposed to COVID-19 vaccines.
In fact, an August press release from Chemnitz Clinic quoted Jendges as saying that vaccines significantly reduce the risk of infection and serious illness from SARS-CoV-2 (here).
False. Spokespersons for Chemnitz city and the local police force said they were not aware of any note left by Jendges. The doctor spoke on the record in August in favour of COVID-19 vaccines.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.
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