I was very disappointed in the letter by Murray Sragow, wherein he claims that comparisons to detention camps on the southern border do not trivialize the Holocaust (“Not Trivializing the Holocaust,” July 25, 2019). He further says that “they are simply attempting to learn a lesson from the Holocaust.” Exactly what kind of lesson are they trying to learn? Since Mr. Sragow apparently thinks it’s okay to compare detention places or any other camps to Hitler’s concentration camps, perhaps it is Mr. Sragow who needs a history lesson. In the first place, anti-Semitism has been around for thousands of years. Many have tried to exterminate the Jews. There is no organized hate group for people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. In Daniel Goldhagen’s epic book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners,” he notes: “For as far back as the nineteenth century, the voices in accordance with the absolutely negative verdict on the Jewish being urged merciless persecution and annihilation; their appeal increased from decade to decade.” (pg.70) Where is the merciless persecution and annihilation of those trying to enter our borders? Are people concentrated at the southern border? Yes? Did they come there by choice? Yes. Are they overwhelming border control? Yes. Hence the conditions are difficult.
To equate what is happening at the border to people in detention places for entirely different reasons than were the Jews in concentration camps is absurd. Mr. Sragow agrees that those at the border had and have free choice and do not have to be there, whereas Jews had no choice. Jews did not climb walls to get in as happens at the border. The intense anti-Semitism going back decades and decades throughout Europe bears no comparison to the border whatsoever. To say it does is a travesty. Daniel Goldhagen further states, “...providing evidence that the scope and intensity of anti-Semitism should be the analytical burden when discussing the degree to which Germans were anti-Semitic. It remains unmet.” (pg. 79) This is diminishing the Holocaust and is an insult to survivors, their families and the kedoshim who perished. As a history teacher, it is unfathomable that Mr. Sragow does not get that.Cindy Adler