Wow. This hurts me to the core. I am the child of a German immigrant. She was born in what is now Poland in 1935. She wanted so to become part of the League of German Girls, the branch of the Hitler youth for girls, when she was a child, but was too young to join. You had to be 10 years old, and everyone did. She, like many, especially children, we’re enamored by her leader, by patriotism and nationalism. Even as her own family was torn apart, her siblings in different homes, her father taken prisoner by Polish soilders, she was proud to be German. It wasn’t until she was in her teens that she learned of the horrors that were carried out in the name of her country.
She moved here with her husband, my father, in the 60’s, eventually settling in a suburban neighborhood that had a dense Jewish population. As I was growing up a decade later, I didn’t advertise I was German, I was embarrassed and knew it was an open wound for many in my community. It was one of those things you didn’t speak about in polite conversation. Fortunately most in the community were one generation removed from the direct experience (my mother had me at a relatively late age, whereas most other parents were about ten years younger).
We grew up knowing it was not our fault. It was not my mother’s fault. It was not our grandparents fault. But somewhere, at some point, Germans allowed it to happen.
It wasn’t like on Monday everything was normal and on Friday 6 million Jewish people were dead.
No. History has shown us, it has never happened like that.
Hitler did not have a grand design of cheap war time labor. He had a grand design of targeted genocide. Brushing aside the brutality of history by claiming the concentration camps were created with the intention of cheap labor is spitting on each and every grave.
There may have been people that were sentenced to hard labor that were not Jewish, but the camps were not built for them, they were a handy alternative for dissidents, criminals and people that just pissed off Hitler and his SS boys.
What is happening in this country, at our southern boarder, no, it is not on par with 6 million Jewish people murdered by Hitler. It is on course to be worse. Why?
Because we can see. We can see each and every atrocity carried out. We can see every family ripped apart. We can see what OUR war on drugs has done to their homes in Central America and why they are fleeing for their lives. We can see children without their mother or father. We can see children in cages sleeping on floors. We can see courts with no inturpreturs or attorneys. We can see people’s rights being taken away because they were not born here, regardless of how long they have lived here. We can see.
We can hear. We can hear the vitriol coming from the mouth of trump. We can hear the hate speach chanted at his rallies. We can hear people in stores yelling at people to go back to their country. We can hear the KKK marching in our streets again. We can hear.
Having the Holocaust Center stating “the camps helped” is so beyond disturbing. This is the type of political dog and pony show that is reserved for the bullshit and pandering, not the sacred memory of millions.
There are few left that were actually alive to experience the horror of 1939-1945 in any aspect. So for that, we are now left with records, written history, photos, interviews, memories of stories told. It is up to us, right here, right now, as to whether or not we are willing to allow such a monstrosity of history, or even a shadow of a resemblance of it, be repeated. Do you want your children, your grandchildren to have to answer these questions in 50 years?