Posted by Curt on 21 June, 2018 at 2:20 pm. 6 comments already!


It’s a meme that’s been cropping up with some regularity on the left: the detentions at the border, and in particular the separation of children from parents, is Nazi-esque.

Yesterday a commenter named “holmes” (who used to be an episodic regular here but who hasn’t been around for a couple of years as far as I know, and who seems to have had one of the rare right-to-left transitions—I believe courtesy of the candidacy and then election of one Donald Trump) made the comparison: “and for Jewish conservatives not to squint at all of this and think ‘Hmm, looks vaguely familiar’ is a disgrace.”

But this really isn’t about holmes, who is of course free to believe and think as he wishes. However, his comment reminded me to take the opportunity to clear something up, since holmes is hardly the only one making Nazi comparisons lately. In fact, his statement is relatively mildcompared to what some are saying on the subject.

So: no, there is nothing familiar, not even vaguely, to the Holocaust, and it is a disgrace to suggest that there is.

I’m not going to go into a long post describing the Holocaust, but it is clear to all who study history that the death camps and even work camps were not refugee detention centers, and the people in them (Jews and others) were not illegal immigrants asking for asylum or seeking to become German citizens (or Polish citizens for that matter, the country where the Germans located most of the death camps).

In Nazi work camps, many people (if relatively able-bodied to begin with) were set to “work” to be starved, tortured both psychologically and physically, and killed in droves by disease and exhaustion because of the terrible conditions. In Nazi death camps they were killed at the outset, although a very small percentage were spared briefly to help with the cleanup of the mass killing in exchange for a few more months of life, or to work at certain other tasks for a while under conditions that would ordinarily kill them rather quickly (within months as a rule). The object was to eliminate them as a group from the face of the earth, and certainly from Europe.

That was the stark reality, and it is obscene to make the comparison so many people are making.

What’s more, the idea that small children (younger than teen years) were often taken from their mothers in Nazi camps is actually an error, because what usually happened is that mother and young child stayed together because both mother and child were ordinarily killed together on arrival. Teenagers who seemed strong enough to work were often spared, however. Here’s how it went:

Many children died on the trains or on arrival in the gas chambers. Two camps – Auschwitz and Majdanek – operated a selection policy where the fittest were chosen for slave labour, while babies, small children and their mothers were sent straight to the gas chambers. Teenagers had a better chance of surviving selection, particularly if they claimed to have a skill.

Long term survival was rare and most of those selected to work died eventually of exhaustion and disease. The conditions were so extreme that even the fittest people rarely survived more than a few months in the camps. Some children were kept back from the gas chambers so they could be used for horrific medical experiments.

Anyone who sees a similarity between that and the situation taking place near the border in the US has lost all claim to logic or truth.

If you want to find the facts on what’s been happening to illegal immigrant children at the US border, good luck. The headlines scream “Children kept in cages!!!”—as they apparently also were during the Obama administration, although there are now a lot more of them because of the Trump zero tolerance policy.

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