Op-ed: Holocaust Analogies Are Vital

There has recently been criticism of the comparison between detention facilities holding immigrant children and concentration camps. I not only agree with the Holocaust analogy but feel it is vitally important to make such analogies as we confront the human rights violations being committed by this administration.

I myself have been making this analogy for the past several years as I have watched the humanitarian crisis at our southern border unfold.

My mother was a 5-year-old girl growing up in France during the Holocaust. Her parents sent her to the countryside to hide and she never saw them again. They were killed by the Nazis along with her two older sisters. I have felt that void my entire life; the absence of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I know what Hate can do. I also know that the Holocaust did not occur overnight but happened insidiously over years with the systematic isolation, criminalization and dehumanization of an entire people. If we wait for perfect parallels to the horrors of the Holocaust, we will be too late.

We must raise our voices and increase public awareness of the human rights violations going on in our country right now; The thousands of children that were secretly being separated from their parents for a full year before zero tolerance was announced that may never be reunited; The 13,000 children being held in for for-profit detention centers for months on end, instead of in loving communities with relatives longing to care for them, detention centers surrounded by high fencing where children must walk in a single file and where no physical contact is permitted- even siblings are not allowed to hug each other; The ongoing child separations where children are held in overcrowded, unsanitary and cold ‘ice boxes’ and literally kept in cages and forced to sleep on cement floors when they first arrive. The seven children who have died in the past year due to inadequate access to pediatric care.

These are human beings and this is not who we are as a country. These policies run antithetical to our American values.  Regardless of our political leanings we must raise our voices against these atrocities and demand justice and compassion for children and families who have come to this country escaping violence and danger to legally seek asylum and safety in a country that once claimed to hold that promise.

 

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