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American Concentration Camps: A Review of Nazi History

American Concentration Camps: A Review of Nazi History

America’s Civility Police are rounding up suspects this week after Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to use the term “concentration camps” to describe the concentration camps set up by the Trump Administration. NBC’s Chuck Todd chided her in a Tweet, insisting that Holocaust comparisons are out of bounds. Republicans, of course, lined up to take shots at her, but New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio also objected, stating that he was “uncomfortable” with the comparison. As usual, AOC was ready:

So say what you will. Kids are dying and I’m not here to make people feel comfortable about that.

Something important is missing from criticisms of Cortez’s language – facts. By any rational definition, these hastily constructed and deliberately punitive “detention centers” are concentration camps. They have a punitive purpose. Inmates have committed no crimes of any scale, yet have little or no access to due process. The Administration is even insisting on the right to hold legal asylum seekers in camps indefinitely.

Comparisons to the Nazis in this case are accurate and deadly serious. Children separated from their parents for no reason apart from cruelty are dying of neglect, and the civility cops are whistling past the graveyard.

Part of the problem is our ignorance. Almost everything Americans know about the Nazis is based on events in 1945, not 1933. Our camps look nothing like Auschwitz, but neither did any of the other German concentration camps during Hitler’s first nine years in power. Americans are unaware of the policies and compromises that brought Hitler to power. They are unaware of the many years of careful grooming necessary to prepare the German public for the Final Solution. They don’t understand the persecution of journalists, professors, attorneys and others who stood in the way of total power. As a result, they don’t understand the parallels playing out before their eyes. It’s awfully late now to learn, but better late than never.

How Hitler Came to Power

Let’s begin our brief review by recalling that the Nazis came to power through the electoral process, with the help of German conservatives. In a series of hung elections held across 1932-33, the Nazis fell just short a majority of seats in the Reichstag. In early 1933, just before the last Weimar Era election, conservative leader, Franz von Papen  convinced President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler Chancellor. Von Papen wanted to see his conservative rival and current Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher, replaced. In return for his help, Hitler promised to make von Papen Vice-Chancellor, a position from which he intended to manipulate Hitler. That plan didn’t work out.

With Hitler as Chancellor and Herman Göring installed next to him as Minister of the Interior, the Nazis were free to carry out a reign of terror in the streets in the weeks leading up to the March 1933 Election. Despite their efforts to disrupt the political process, the Nazis only mustered a disappointing 44% of the popular vote. It was the first time that the Nazis held more seats than the rival coalition between the Social Democrats and the Communists, but it still wasn’t enough to form a government. They needed allies.

The seats needed to form a government would come from their fellow conservatives in the DNVP. The DNVP was the only party that had been allowed to campaign without violent interference from the Nazis. Running on the interests of farmers, a more assertive and militaristic foreign policy, and opposition to Socialism, the DNVP provided a moderate, polite outlet for those aligned with the Nazi agenda, but turned off by the Nazis’ thuggishness. DNVP leaders came mostly from the military, aristocracy, religious hardliners and industry, which were already heavily overlapping.

Many conservatives were troubled by the Nazis’ anti-Semitic rhetoric, but only in terms of tone, not substance. They considered Hitler and his followers to be uncouth rabble, and saw Hitler’s Jew-baiting as a tasteless quirk. Most DNVP leaders were fundamentally anti-Semitic themselves, they just had other issues they cared about more. The DNVP was particularly obsessed with the threat of a Bolshevik Revolution in Germany. If they had to tolerate the persecution of Jews to block Socialists from coming to power, then so be it.

With the help of Germany’s conservatives, Hitler was able to form a governing coalition in March 1933. However, to achieve the 2/3 Reichstag majority he needed to dismantle the republic for good, he needed one more partner and some dirty tricks.

First, Hitler reached a deal with the leader of the Catholic Zentrum Party, promising to preserve Catholic institutions under the nascent Reich. This wasn’t difficult, as Pope Pius XI had already helped Mussolini dismantle the troublesome democracy in Italy and backed the Fascists against Republicans in Spain. Germany’s Social Democrats had succeeded by 1926 in liberalizing the country’s abortion laws, removing many penalties for abortion, but they were determined to make abortion legal. Catholics would do almost anything, including handing power to the Nazis, to prevent full legalization of contraception and abortion. The Zentrum Party became an enthusiastic partner in Hitler’s plan to dismantle democracy. That agreement was cemented with a formal Reichskonkordat between Hitler and the Pope that summer, and the formal dissolution of the Zentrum Party. 

A coalition among the Nazis, Conservatives and the Catholic Party was still not, however, enough to reach a 2/3 majority. To win the Reichstag margin necessary to pass the Enabling Act, the Nazis had to block the Communists and many Social Democrats from taking their seats in the Reichstag. Having already rounded up and jailed most of the leftist leaders, that job was fairly simple. A rule change loosened the requirements for a quorum in the Reichstag, giving Hitler the margin he needed. With the support of religious leaders in both the Catholic and Protestant communities, and with help from the Conservative Party, on March 23, 1933, the Reichstag voted Hitler dictatorial power and Germany’s first democratic experiment ended.

The First Nazi Concentration Camps

In April 1933, Hitler organized a national boycott of Jewish businesses and issued an edict removing Jews from the civil service. Harassment escalated and economic conditions for Jews worsened. But for the next few years the intimidation of Germany’s Jews escalated slowly. Nazis focused their energies at first on consolidating power.

Hitler opened one of the first of his new concentration camps later in March 1933 at Dachau. It provided a more orderly place to put the thousands of Germans rounded up in raids on political enemies. From a Nazi press release at the time:

“the first concentration camp is to be opened in Dachau with an accommodation for 5,000 people. All Communists and – where necessary – Reichsbanner and Social Democratic functionaries who endanger state security are to be concentrated there, as in the long run it is not possible to keep individual functionaries in the state prisons without overburdening these prisons.”

One of Dachau’s earliest prisoners was Fritz Gerlich, a popular and principled Catholic newspaper editor who had opposed both the Nazis and the Communists. Destruction of the free press was a top priority for the Nazis, as journalists were almost entirely aligned against them. By one estimate, the Nazis enjoyed support from less than 3% of the country’s newspapers. The Nazis did, however, have significant investments in their own non-conventional media enterprises. Much like our Sinclair Media, Fox News, or the Regnery company who publishes authors like Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro, well-funded Nazi media operations cranked out high-volume propaganda for the cult. Once the Nazis seized power, this shadow press took control of the existing mainline media while professional journalists, or as Hitler called them, Lugenpresse (“lying press”), were squeezed and harassed, many of their prominent members sent to concentration camps. Gerlich was murdered at Dachau during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934.

Max Amann, the SS figure named head of the Reich Media Chamber in 1933, turned his position into a major financial boon. His power to harass or shut down dissenting media was a valuable bargaining lever, allowing him to buy out attractive media businesses he accused of disloyalty. By 1944, he was a multi-millionaire, though just a year later he’d find himself in an Allied prison camp.

In April 1933, Germany’s Protestant leaders gathered to form a new “German Evangelical Church” under the authority of a new Nazi leader, Ludwig Müller. Protestants had already formed the “German Christian Movement” a few years prior, to organize followers to support either the Nazis or the DNVP in a crusade against Socialism. A few dissidents emerged, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but they had negligible support or impact among German Christians. Bonhoeffer himself would eventually be executed by the Nazis for his role in an assassination plot against Hitler.

On May 2, 1933, the day after May Day, brown shirts stormed union offices all over Germany. Labor leaders were sent to concentration camps or murdered. All independent labor organization, collective bargaining, and strikes were banned. All existing labor contracts were nullified. Workers were organized under a single government union with Nazi leaders. Workers were not forced to join the party or the union, because it was virtually impossible to gain employment without Nazi support. Labor unions were replaced with a Nazi surveillance mechanism, and working class agitation, long a frustration for business leaders, was over.

Night of the Long Knives

As the Nazis consolidated power in their first year, tensions rose in the ranks. Dozens or more paramilitaries and quasi-official mafias, all key to the Nazis’ early rise, began jostling for leverage in the new Reich. Their activities were eyed with concern by the military, who had been cool to Hitler from the beginning. There were fears that escalating disorder stoked by these mobs might trigger intervention or even a coup from the restless Reichswehr.

It was time to clean house. In June 1934, Hitler flew to Munich to publicly discipline an SA unit accused of fomenting a riot the night before. His real target was their commander, Ernst Röhm, who had fallen out of favor. Hitler had Röhm executed, and members of his unit who could be rounded up were sent to the camps. The next day leading Nazis launched a nationwide purge, killing a still-unknown number of Nazi figures whose loyalty was in question, or whose usefulness had declined.

Hitler used this occasion to kill of many enemies and even former collaborators. Former conservative Chancellor Kurt von Schliecher was murdered along with his wife. Former DNVP leader, Von Papen, who played a key role in elevating Hitler to the Chancellery, narrowly escaped execution while many of his colleagues died. Adalbert Probst, head of the now-dissolved Catholic Youth League and prominent critic of Hitler, was murdered. Erich Klausener, a prominent member of the Catholic Zentrum Party, had been moved from the central police into the Transportation Ministry after Zentrum placed absolute power in Hitler’s hands. Earlier that June he had made an impassioned speech opposing the Nazi’s violence. He was executed in the purge. Conservative and Catholic political parties that had brought Hitler to power had, by mid-1934, been eliminated, their leaders either killed or cowed into collaboration.

The Nazi Social Agenda

After the passage of the Nuremberg Race laws in 1935, patterned specifically on America’s Jim Crow regime, the camps began to see new inmates punished for race-mixing or attempts at illegal immigration, but the concentration camps remained primarily penal camps for dissidents. For the next several years, deaths in the camps were primarily the result of negligence or individual punishments, not a strategic program.

While life grew steadily worse for Jews in Germany, the Nazis continued through the 30’s to focus most of their energy on their social and military agenda. While shutting down or consolidating most of independent religious institutions, Hitler faithfully fulfilled his promises to religious conservatives, pursuing an aggressive social conservative agenda.

Abortion laws which had been liberalized in 1926 and had gone largely unenforced in the Weimar Era, were rolled back by the Nazis in 1933. Thousands of women would eventually land in concentration camps, accused of attempting an abortion. Obtaining contraceptives became extremely difficult. Hitler declared in 1934 that, “In my state, the mother is the most important citizen.” And she was important, for the purpose of breeding little soldiers. Nazis awarded the Motherhood Cross to women who bore at least four children and granted subsidies for large families.

In 1936, the Nazis realized Mike Pence’s dream, creating the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion. Later that year the SS began rounding up suspected homosexuals and sending them to concentration camps. Officials with the Reich Office had permission to carry out summary execution of suspects, however, they were blocked from investigating the many prominent homosexuals within the Nazi regime

Late in the Weimar Era, Germany had liberalized its gun laws to allow tightly regulated individual ownership of weapons. In 1938, the Nazis took individual gun rights much further, dropping almost all regulation of long-bore weapons and lowered the legal age for purchase from 20 to 18. Effectively there were few remaining controls on ownership of rifles and shotguns, with the predictable exception that they could not be sold to Jews. Nazis loved guns. Hitler had to crack down on dueling in the ranks after a senior leader of the Hitler Youth killed a prominent German soldier and Nazi writer, Roland Strunk, in a duel in 1937. The event was notable enough to make it into the New York Times.

Five years into Hitler’s dictatorship, Jews were facing painful and economically damaging harassment, but violence and arrests were still relatively limited. Concentration camps were still populated mostly with political prisoners and homosexuals. There were no death camps. By late 1938, with Hitler’s opponents silenced and his power firmly consolidated, he was free to ratchet up his deadly campaign against the Jews, strengthened in part by grassroots support and apathy in the western democracies.

Growing Fascist Sympathy in the West

Kristallnacht, an organized, coordinated outbreak of mob violence against the Jews launched on November 9, 1938, was the opening of a new phase of Nazi persecution of the Jews. In the wake of Kristallnacht, the SA rounded up thousands of Jews who were “guilty” of minor offenses like traffic tickets, and sent them to the newly expanded network of concentration camps. On January 30, 1939, Hitler warned that the outbreak of war in Europe would lead to the extermination of the Jews. In that speech, he remarked:

It is a shameful spectacle to see how the whole democratic world is oozing sympathy for the poor, tormented Jewish people, but remains hard-hearted and obdurate when it comes to helping them.

And it was true. The US and all the western democracies were lodging diplomatic complaints about Nazi anti-Semitism while working feverishly to block the immigration of German Jews. Fascists were actively organizing in the US, Britain, France and elsewhere, working to limit the capacity of the world’s remaining democracies to stop Hitler. US aviation hero, Charles Lindbergh and industrialist Henry Ford, were both being cultivated as Nazi assets.

Ford had funded the publication of The Elders of Zion, a libelous conspiratorial screed against the Jews, in the 1920’s. Hitler often quoted the book. Ford was quoted by name in Mein Kampf. The Nazis awarded him the German Eagle in a ceremony in Detroit in 1938. American aviator, Charles Lindbergh, was a particularly prized asset, receiving the German Eagle directly from Göring while on a publicity visit to Germany just a few weeks before Kristallnacht.

Conservatives in England were largely taken with Hitler, all the way up to the Crown Prince, Edward. Casual anti-Semitism was common in England. Harold Harmsworth, the newspaper mogul who founded the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler. He sent Hitler a congratulatory telegram after the annexation of the Sudetenland. Harmsworth, like much of the rest of the British Tory establishment, was obsessed with fear of a Communist takeover, seeing Hitler as a bulwark against the Bolsheviks. Harmsworth promoted Hitler as such in his media.

One lonely and increasingly isolated conservative hated Hitler from the beginning and never wavered. Winston Churchill issued one of the earliest public warnings about Hitler from the right in 1930, a position which was unpopular and regarded as mildly hysterical by conservative politicians all the way up to 1940. Remember, Neville Chamberlain, architect of the Munich Agreement, was a Tory.

Months after Kristallnacht, in February 1939, 20,000 American Nazis filled New York’s Madison Square Garden where they hailed George Washington as the world’s first Fascist. The Bund’s leader, Fritz Kuhn, was a former Ford employee. After Hitler invaded Poland and war came to Europe, pro-Nazi activism in the western democracies accelerated. The German-American Bund organized a large Nazi march in New York City in October, 1939. Shortly thereafter, the group was dismantled by the FBI and Kuhn was deported to Germany.

Ahead of the 1940 election in the US, Charles Lindbergh accelerated his efforts to protect the Nazis from potential American intervention. Lindbergh was a prominent spokesman for one of the Nazis’ most promising political movements in the west, called America First. The group, dedicated to an isolationist foreign policy, enjoyed financial support from industrialists like William Regnery. His son, Henry, would later establish Salem Media and the Regnery publishing house, which would publish authors like Ann Coulter and Mark Levin. Regnery’s grandson, William Regnery II, would become a campaign volunteer for Barry Goldwater in 1964. Later, he funded neo-Nazi organizations in the US, including the National Policy Institute which hired Richard Spencer as its director in 2011. The history of Fascist involvement in Anglo-American conservatism is long, deep, and as-yet uninterrupted.

Across the Atlantic, Chamberlain’s government collapsed in May 1940 after catastrophic British losses in France and Norway. At a desperate meeting of the British War Council on May 27, 1940, called to discuss the prospect of secret negotiations with the Nazis, it was the Liberal Party who brought a surprise guest, Winston Churchill. His strenuous argument against a peace deal split the room. Capitalizing on his support from outside his own party along with nationalist rumblings among the Tories, over the next few days Churchill played his sorry hand from the back-benches to 10 Downing Street, and on into history. His narrow, unlikely success in steeling British spines was the axial point in the global fight against Fascism. It was Churchill, not Roosevelt, who placed the Anglo-American world implacably at odds with Hitler.

The Final Solution

Despite harassment, intimidation, and even efforts to starve them with reduced rations, Jewish communities in Germany remained more or less intact even after the war began. Seven years into the Third Reich, it was still possible for Germans, and for western observers to argue that Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric was of little real concern. It was in Poland that the first mass extermination of Jews took place, then mostly carried out by troops in the field. Organized deportations of German Jews to concentration camps began in October 1940. The first several of these Nazi deportation camps were in France, where the Nazis simply assumed control of camps originally set up by the French to detain pre-war asylum seekers fleeing the Spanish Civil War.

Hitler first described his vision for Jewish death camps, his so-called Final Solution, at a meeting of Nazi leaders in December, 1941. Jews in Germany, Poland, France and the other occupied territories were already being rounded up into concentration camps. Some of those camps were then being fitted out for mass killing. The new gas chambers at Auschwitz were completed in March, 1942. A third of the Jews murdered by the Nazis would be killed in the industrialized death camps at Auschwitz and Treblinka. For most of Hitler’s time in power, concentration camps were simply detention centers for those considered either a threat, or a despised minority. Our black and white vision of Nazi death camps is not the definition of a concentration camp, nor does it reflect the day-to-day reality of bigoted political oppression during Hitler’s early years in power. For most of Hitler’s reign, his concentration camps looked just like ours, with similar motives and purpose.

Our Concentration Camps

The current expansion of our concentration camp industry resulted from two decisions of the Trump Administration. First, Trump officials reversed a long-standing and successful policy of releasing immigrants with current deportation or amnesty proceedings, with order to appear in court. Rates of court appearance under that policy had topped 90%. Instead of this cheap, simple and human process, Trump officials decided that these people should be interned indefinitely. Second, the Administration enacted a policy of kidnapping the children of suspected illegal migrants, holding them in camps separate from their families. Both of these moves were unprecedented. Neither arose from any need, whether in terms of safety or cost. They have created unnecessary public expense for no purpose but the harassment of a group unpopular with Trump’s bigoted political base.

We have established concentration camps for migrants, many of whom are legal immigrants applying for asylum, in order to satisfy the cruel and cowardly impulses of Republican voters. The comparison to German concentration camps is entirely apt. There is no crisis at our border apart from the one created by this Administration. These migrants, even the “illegal” ones guilty of a misdemeanor comparable to a traffic ticket, pose absolutely no demonstrable threat to us. None of this Administration’s efforts to curb immigration serve a national purpose apart from bigoted political theater, just like the Nazis’ harassment of Jews in the 1930’s.

The Trump Administration is our Third Reich. He is our version of Hitler. Trump’s supporters are our Nazis. Everyone who collaborates with this regime, from the guards at the camps, to the entrepreneurs profiting, to the Republican Senators defending him should pay the price we imposed on Nazis after the war. What will it take for justice to be done? That remains to be seen. We’ll get as much justice as we’re willing to fight for.


    1. I really have limited hope that the public mood will shift anytime soon. Even if a Progressive Democrat is elected in 2020, Senate flips and the House majority is expanded, there will still be a lot of opposition. The R’s will still have the ability to block most legislation and they will do so. Plus there are the Federal courts that have been packed. To change the Federal government will take several election cycles.

      Combine that with the solid core of Trumpistas and white supremacists, and it will take many years will be required to accomplish the necessary changes. But I do have hope that the changes that have occurred on the left coast and other urban areas will start spreading across the nation.

      1. The light better go on in peoples heads in the 2020 election or this nation will be an entirely different country, and not for the better. We’re running out of time and losing a tremendous wealth of knowledge and talent. The courts are imperilled and with Coats gone so are our intelligence operations. Our environment is losing hard fought gains and the wealth divide has never been this extreme. America’s rule of law is under siege as executive orders and regulations take the place of regular order debate in congress. Yeah, voter turnout is where it’s at or game over.

  1. And now, SCOTUS, as expected, just made the idea of voting being a democratic tool defunct, by siding with the fascists re: gerrymandering. Yes, Roberts did shut down the census issue, for now, but gerrymandering was the big one.

    But you folks keep on hoping that the vote alone will change the arc of history in the U.S.

      1. My take on this is that Roberts original opinion was to approve the citizenship question. But when the hard drive was found and released into the public domain, the information made it crystal clear that the question was being asked for purely partisan reasons. That would make it clear to the public that this SCOTUS is another partisan government institution. Thereby its status and Roberts personal status in the eyes of the public would be irreparably damaged. Roberts major present objective is to try to preserve the status of SCOTUS as long as possible. Accordingly, after the information became public, he changed his opinion and the decision was rewritten.

        The other decision released today, that of the gerrymandering issue, had sufficient cover to maintain an illusion of SCOTUS impartiality. In reality, the gerrymandering decision relieves the federal court system of dealing with gerrymandering for the time being and preserves the Project Redmap Gerrymandering, temporarily. The battle against gerrymandering has already shifted to the state courts and it will be battled out at the state level. But the people of state after state are passing measures in one way or another to make the redistricting process less subject to gerrymandering. Eventually egregious gerrymandering will be eliminated. Unfortunately, the delay may be enough to allow the results of Project Redmap to prevail for another decade.

        If the U.S. survives as a federal republic SCOTUS will have to take this matter up again, the Constitution will be amended to clarify that federal standards are required for redistricting or Congress will pass and the President with sign a law to implement federal standards. HR1 was a start on this process.

      2. Yup, democracy and the rule of law is alive and well in the U.S. And the bulk of you are still so naive or suffer from some kind of cognitive dissonance to not accept the reality of the situation.

        You believe that voting or market forces alone will rectify this stampede towards a dictatorship. I simply cannot grasp how you can still believe that.

  2. It is always wise to keep in mind that a large proportion of Americans have authoritarian personalities and flock to people such as Trump. I do not know the exact percentages, but judging by the steadiness of Trump’s approval ratings I would guess it is in the range of 25-30% and could be as high as 40%. There are also the aspects of racism and xenophobia, but there is a large overlap, so separating the subsets of people who are mainly authoritarian versus those who are mainly racist and xenophobes is virtually impossible.

  3. This is a great piece, Chris. In addition, I hope you analyze the role of the military and para-military structures.

    In Nazi Germany, Hitler was pretty unpopular with the military leadership. While they might not have cared too much about his treatment of Jews, many of the top generals were deeply unhappy with Hitler’s military strategy and tactics, and — at the very least — indifferent to the Nazi’s social movements.

    As a result, however, Hitler did an end-run around the military, and created the Schutzstaffel, or SS to carry out his internal programs. He probably realized his military would probably turn on him (or at least refuse) if he ordered them to carry out unpopular internal actions.

    This, I’d argue, is similar to our current situation. While still under civilian control, the military is deeply suspicious of Trump, and is probably fighting an internal battle over how much to pushback on his direct orders.

    As a result, Trump is militarizing other parts of the government, including ICE and the Homeland Security department, to carry out what are essentially military operations within the country. He’s doubling down by hiring private contractors to evade government control. If Posse Comitatus prevents the President from ordering the military to undertake police work, then the answer is easy: militarize the police. This is what’s been happening.

    This started with Darryl Gates creating SWAT teams, which are essentially military-grade units within domestic police forces, but really accelerated post-9/11 when the spigots were opened for police to acquire military hardware in the name of protecting against terrorists. Now you have the spectre of even hippy-dippy leftist Universities trying to buy armored personnel carriers:

    IOW, what was once a highly controversial unit created to deal with inner cities that had degraded into essentially warzones during the height of the 80s/90s crime wave, has now spread to “police” forces whose main task is to keep drunk college kids from peeing on the university lawns.

    Personally, I noticed this first during the Ferguson protests, when police were little distinguished from the military, with their APCs, heavy weaponry, and patrolling tactics that wouldn’t be out of place in Fallujah.

    So I believe this is another way in which we’re following the Nazi trajectory: we pin all of our hopes on a relatively sane military, but due to that resistance by the military brass to the most extreme of their elected leaders’ policies, the politicians are creating their own para-military organizations to do what the military won’t.

    IOW, If the border detention centers are our concentration camps, does that make ICE our SS?

    1. WX’s comment regarding the militarization of police forces and the adoption of a warrior mentality is on target. In many cities that has become all to common. Under the Obama Administration an attempt was made to change the orientation of policing from a warrior mentality to that of being guardians. Both by adopting policing recommendations that emphasized a guardianship mentality and by the effort under the DOJ to reform rogue police departments. Unfortunately, tRump dismantled both programs and hos doubled down on the trend towards the warrior mentality and the militarization of the police departments.

      Washington State and Seattle proper has considerable experience in regard to this. The state police academy curriculum was significantly modified post 9/11 and the Seattle Police Department continues to be under DOJ supervision. Fortunately the state, county and local governments thoroughly support the transition and despite considerable efforts by some elements to backslide the pressure to make the transition to a guardianship mentality is being maintained. The director of the police academy Sue Rahr, has come back to WA from Washington and has resumed her policies. In Seattle, has continued to fight the transition, but our mayor who was the federal prosecutor for Western Washington when the DOJ sued is maintaining the pressure. Presently, the Seattle Police Department continues under DOJ supervision. If the Police Guild had been supportive DOJ Supervision would be essentially finished by now. But the Police Guild continues to encourage the rogue police officers.

      This example illustrates just how difficult the transition to a guardianship mentality is. When a police agency becomes militarized and adopts a warrior mentality, routing out the bad elements is a major undertaking and takes years. In the case of the Federal Homeland Security police agencies, ICE and CBP, ideally both agencies must essentially be disbanded and reconstituted from scratch. But we do need security at our borders. So we are in essentially a “Catch 22”. Coming back from the damage this administration has done will be a generational long effort and will be all the more difficult because approximately 35-40% of the voting public appear to have a authoritarian personalities and support tRump and his policies.

    2. Alarming realistic WX. Are you up for projecting an alternative scenario? As long as we’re in the “what if” mode, that is, trump loses. Play it both ways: badly or in a squeaker. What happens next? Per the Forbes piece I linked above, RICO prescribes after ten years. There is a five year limit from time of infraction for federal charges. Not exactly sure of the difference except that RICO has unusual power.

  4. I signed up for the White House newsletter during the Obama administration. It’s remained useful in knowing what the official line the current administration is taking, though the differences on how the two admins ran the newsletter is an analysis for a different day.

    Today’s newsletter is the first time I considered cancelling for my mental health.

    Subject: Democrats’ Outrageous Border Cruelty

    Body: “Democrats are finally acknowledging the border crisis they claimed didn’t exist, yet many still want to deny aid to suffering migrants. It’s beyond cruel,” the New York Post editorial board writes.

    “Humanitarian aid should be a top priority. If Dems truly care about the conditions of migrants packed in squalid facilities, they’ll back funding to address those conditions even if some of that money might go to enforcement.”

    These motherfuckers are not only locking children in cages explicitly for the purpose of scaring already desperate people fleeing abject conditions, but blaming the children’s starvation and disease on the Democrats’ refusal to fund the cages!

    I wish I weren’t an atheist and truly could take comfort in a cosmic justice that would see these truly psychotic dumbfucks burning for eternity or coming back as a starving cockroach or something, but in our current plane I simply can’t think of any reasonable level of justice short of locking them all in jail and throwing away the key.

    1. Super article, Fly. I’m 75 and I haven’t believed in American “Exceptionalism” for a few years now. Granted, it’s taken me a while to get there but my eyes are wide open to what is happening around me. I don’t blame Millennials for being jaded. The biggest challenge for me personally is to not lose hope. Millennials never got there so they are watching the chaos unroll with more cynicism than should be expected of a young person. And, I’m white, and many Millennials are too. Imagine how people of color feel.

      If the trump era hasn’t taught us anything else, it has proven that wealth, arrogance and privilege are far more important to those in power than our democratic principles and institutions. Inept democrats and corrupt republicans are not offering Millennials a very hopeful future.

      1. I may be a little behind the timeliness of the discussion here. But, AOC is absolutely correct in her statement that the immigration camps are concentration camps. In a similar vein the WWII interment camps were also concentration camps. We also placed the native american peoples in concentration camps. True these have not been death camps such as Auschwitz, but they still serve the purpose of concentrating peoples that are considered undesirables into one place and denying them appropriate humanitarian needs.

        However as the Atlantic piece points out, using the term “concentration camp” makes Americans uncomfortable because it conflicts with the national notion of being a “City on a Hill” and American Exceptionalism. The notion of American Exceptionalism is nothing more than jingoism that was spoon fed to many of us in our elementary readers during the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Many of us (like myself) who were involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement and are partially familiar with Vietnamese history realized that long ago. For example in Vietnam, it was the U.S. who denied the Vietnamese their quest for independence and supported the French in their efforts to reestablish colonial rule. Likewise, the U.S. was the nation that violated the Geneva Accords which envisioned a reunification vote. This was because Ho Chi Minh was a communist. Yet he only turned to communism because the US refused to support his quest for independence. The US was engaged in a global contest with communism at that time and everything else was secondary.

        NO, the U.S. is not an EXCEPTIONAL NATION. Rather, it is one among several Great Powers. Like all great powers we pursue what is in our perceived national interest at any given time. At least the U.S. has the trappings of democracy, rather than authoritarianism. Even that is in question at this time with the extreme inequity and the importance of money in our political system.

      2. That’s an excellent point about the reasons Ho Chi Minh turned to communism. Our somewhat blindly misguided loyalty to our sometime ally, France, led us to defend their sovereignty over their colony, Vietnam, to our everlasting regret in my opinion. (Yes, I know that France helped us become independent, yes I know!) AOC seems to have an ability to see past the b.s. and make great points about many issues — the Trumpcamps; the huge influence of the Israel lobby, etc.

      3. There was also a similar missed diplomatic opportunity with Fidel Castro, IIRC.

        What I think is exceptional about America is the idea of creating a nation from immigrants of many different backgrounds, with respect for their individual liberties. We’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the concept of immigration. I like using the term “the American Experiment” because that’s exactly what it is. We don’t yet know if it’s possible to build this egalitarian multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-belief systems society that we say we aspire to. We’re approaching a major test of this as our demographics move towards no one group having a majority.

        I’ve pissed off a few jingoists with the term “American Experiment”, but reality doesn’t care about your feelings.

  5. That’s incredibly sad Homer. Thank you for reporting. I will find a way to let those in the museum’s leadership know how I feel about their very limited position. I’m disappointed that they have chosen to view this issue so narrowly. Divide and conquer is working.

  6. The one thing that gives me hope in the midst of this shitshow we’re living through is that, for now at least, we can speak up and criticize with impunity from officialdom. Now if we only we can oppose officialdom effectively maybe we can get somewhere

  7. Informative and thoughtful as always, Chris. Much more detailed than the short and punchy (but still accurate) “Hitler wasn’t Hitler in 1933”.
    One nit; if any German woman managed to sire even one child, let alone four, she’d probably have received a Nobel Prize on top of the Motherhood Cross. Siring is what men do (or males of other species). I don’t think human women “dam”, as horses do, they just mother, or give birth.

    1. I stumbled onto a new source on immigration issues through an article on the current detention fiasco by David Muder, blog master of The Weekly Sift. The sub-links offer additional valuable information. Of note is the allegation that ICE has significant financial reporting problems along with very little opacity and accountability. This Huge department blessed by trump apparently is being given a lot of latitude.

  8. Awesome history lesson Chris.

    And nice to see you have inched a little closer to my views. When you start comparing the tyrant to hitler, the next step is logical, and easy. Only thing, hitler was far more intelligent and capable than the tyrant.

    Oh, and given that the fascist senators from Oregon are now protected from being arrested by state troopers by neo-nazi militia’s, and same miltia’s have now shut down the Senate building with threats of violence, well, the state of affairs in the U.S. just moved that much closer to the state in Germany you detailed.

    I want to see if Oregon Dem’s have the actual guts to stand up to fascism, find 2 of these “senators”, and drag them in chains back into the Senate building and have the vote. The federal Dem Congress proved how weak they are when they did not send the sergeant at arms after Burr and others that blew them off.

    1. EJ

      Let’s be very clear.

      In the 1930s, there were numerous armed insurrections against the Nazi government in Germany. My school text gives the number 79, of which ~40 were considered serious; doubtless there were many smaller groups and violent actions too. The most serious were led by Communist and Polish-nationalist groups, because they had numbers, discipline and foreign aid, and because they could see the writing on the wall. In particular, the province of Silesia saw some very ambitious Polish-led uprisings against the Nazis.

      All failed. They failed for the simple reason that the German army had tanks, planes and long-range artillery, and the rebels did not. Deprived of such weapons, and without the option of guerrilla war, there was no realistic way they could achieve anything with their deaths.

      More importantly, the uprisings helped to cement Nazi control over the country. Even if people don’t like their government, the sight of their own police and soldiers being murdered will be deeply shocking to them; and this made many people receptive to Nazi propaganda claims that they were “protecting the country from foreign-backed extremists.” In the end, the uprisings achieved nothing except cementing further Nazi control.

      Violence doesn’t work. You’ll just get a lot of good people machine gunned. Instead, consider organising. Do you belong to one or more local groups? You can do a lot of good working with existing, experienced activists and antifascists, especially because the experience of opposing the police may not be something you’re used to.

      1. Thanks for this piece of history EJ. See Dins, this is what I mean. You keep thinking assassination and/or violence is an easy solution (“the next step is logical, and easy”). But it’s not, and it frequently leads to the opposite of what you intended.

        Dins, it’s not like assassination hasn’t been tried before. Ever since Julius Caesar and before, plenty of people have sought to solve their political problems with violence. We have lots of history to examine to see how successful it has been. The verdict is clear. It is not effective. The few times it has been are almost a fluke (I doubt Booth plotted Lincoln’s assassination out of anything but anger; the fact that the person who replaced him was a Democratic southern sympathizer like Johnson was just a happy coincidence).

        You don’t even have to go back very far. Just in the past century there have been plenty of slain political leaders. Did the assassination of MLK set back civil rights? Or did it horrify and enrage enough people to accelerate it? How about Yitzhak Rabin? What did the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan accomplish? Off a wave of sympathy, her husband got elected Prime Minister.

        Bhutto is actually a great (if somewhat gruesome example). Her father, a secularist PM named Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was executed. But here’s the rub: the initial military coup occurred *first*, and then Bhutto was tried in Pakistan’s Supreme Court (admittedly probably a sham trial), and hanged. IOW, the political action came first: Pakistan’s chief of the Army, Zia-ul-Haq, first took the political action of staging a military coup, and after consolidating his power, tried and executed Bhutto.

        Now, I’m not arguing for a military coup. But they have been far, far more successful than targeted assassinations (incidentally, this is the reason I’m far more worried than the average American about the outcomes of the military bucking its civilian leadership in Trump’s administration). At any rate, the answer to a nation careening toward catastrophe is never logical or easy. It wasn’t for Hitler’s Germany, and it’s not for Trump’s America.

  9. After reading this post, I started watching a BBC series – now on Netflix – Auschwitz: the Nazis and the Final Solution. Its a little slow, but it made the point that the allies did not know much about the mass murders in the concentration camps until 1944. Hopefully the orange will be gone long before we get to that stage. I am grateful for the inability of despots – today – to control all media.

    There is a lot of propaganda out there, but informed persons will be able to discern the truth. Ignorance is not bliss.

    1. In fact, very few people did, even in Germany, even in the ranks of the military and the government. There were rumors, but as you might imagine those rumors sounded far too absurd to be credible. Everyone knew that people were being dragged away, and that extrajudicial killings were taking place. But they also knew of people who had been sent to camps like Dachau earlier in the Nazi era and returned. It was bad, but in the context of prison it was about what anyone would expect.

      And that has disturbing implications for us. These camps are now vast, unmonitored, and almost entirely unresponsive to the law. They are beyond any oversight or accountability. Everything you know about politics tells you what will happen next to the people in those camps, even without any grand plan to inflict horrors.

      And once that infrastructure is established, it’s too useful to dismantle. Dachau wasn’t finally closed until 1960.

      1. EJ

        I’m not saying that people in Germany knew every detail. However, the camp of Sachsenhausen lay within the leafy suburbs of the pleasant Berlin commuter town of Oranienburg, and the Right-wing Berlin newspapers would frequently make jokes about it. In our school history lessons about the Holocaust, we were shown a newspaper cartoon from the period (which I can’t find now) about the change in the colour of the smoke from the camp, the explanation for which was supposedly that they were now burning Hungarian Jews rather than Polish or Russian Jews.

        Consider the horrible implications of such a joke. Consider how much public knowledge it implies. Consider also that it is absolutely the sort of thing that edgy people on 4chan would say today.

        So yeah. The German people knew. We knew but we didn’t want to know, so we learned to un-know; and there is a special damnation in this.

  10. EJ

    Sorry to post so much, but I saw this comment on Twitter (Christopher Caldwell-Kelly, @seraph76) and I think it’s something very relevant:

    “I keep seeing people post all these things about what ICE and CBP can and cannot do within the law, and I’m trying not to be pessimistic, but I don’t think it matters. The law is a fiction they’ve abandoned.

    “If you think about Daryl Gates smashing into the homes of Black people with a tank in the 80s, it becomes clear that what is legal and what is permissible occupy two different spaces.”

    This was a constant refrain in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s: Much of what the Nazis did was illegal under German law at the time, but the law only matters inasmuch as the violent coercive apparatus of the state chooses to apply it.

    1. Your comments are thoughtful and from a very relevant perspective, so nobody minds at all!

      Your example of Darryl Gates and his law enforcement practices is interesting (and relevant) because there’s a very vigorous (to put it mildly) debate about the police and how they treat various groups of Americans. The one bit of optimism I have is that Gates or any other police chief would be getting a lot more blowback if he tried that today. The one good thing about practically everyone carrying a smart phone is that violations that used to get swept under the rug get posted online. You may have seen the latest incident, from Phoenix. A young Black family was stopped by police on a shoplifting report (a misdemeanor crime), and they approached them with a degree of force that one would have expected had they been dealing with armed robbery suspects who were violently resisting arrest. Fortunately no fatalities or serious injuries. It made the news because bystanders recorded it. The police involved may lose their jobs. The police apologists still circle the wagons, but they are increasingly beleaguered by this video evidence. Getting convictions of bad cops is still too rare.

      Likewise, bad publicity is going to be the best weapon against these concentration camps. People need to be made uncomfortable. Bad press gets under Donny2Scoops’ nanometer-thin skin. It’s why I suspect he wavered on attacking Iran. It’s a weakness that Hitler didn’t seem to have.

    2. Yes, there is a difference between what is legal and what is permissible. There is a more dire situation pending regarding the US House subpoenas. Democrats have appealed the trump administration’s blanket refusal to respond to congressional subpoenas – both for witnesses and redacted evidence contained in the Mueller Report. The judiciary has the authority to rule against trump’s position but has no enforcement authority. That rests with Congress. There is precious little in the law that enables the House to enforce a favorable court ruling should the president refuse to comply. In this situation, it may be both illegal and historically impermissible to refuse to comply with a court judgment but when the subject is the POTUS, and he ignores the judgement, what then? US AG (Barr) has clearly abdicated his constitutional responsibility in deference to personal allegiance to the president, for which there is no precedent and consequently, a Constitutional crisis. The rule of law in a Democracy depends upon all parties respecting the process or facing legal consequences. What might those be in this situation? Who will serve an arrest warrant to Potus?

    3. “Much of what the Nazis did was illegal under German law at the time, but the law only matters inasmuch as the violent coercive apparatus of the state chooses to apply it.”

      This is what I wish people, especially Democrats, understood about politics. You don’t measure a nation by its laws, you measure a nation by the laws it takes seriously. This has been a defining characteristic of white nationalism across our history. “Law and order” is a value we apply to marginalized groups, not to white people. White people live under a special legal arrangement, with unique treatment by law enforcement, courts and politicians. White crimes are a special category of crimes, to be treated with patience and tolerance not afforded to “dangerous” groups.

      1. Do you see some hope in the fact that this double standard is increasingly being called out? Admitting that there is a problem is a prerequisite to dealing with it.

        I’m under no illusions about how heavy lift this is going to be.

      2. EJ

        This is what I love about you, Chris. You have an understanding of how law and law enforcement actually works which I’ve only otherwise seen among veteran anarchists and experienced minority-rights campaigners.

        Consider getting in touch with your local anti fascist group. I don’t know what the Chicago scene is like, but if they’re anything like the antifa I’ve met elsewhere, you’d get on well.

      3. In my opinion AOC has a moral framework to her approach to politics that has been sorely lacking in the Democratic Party for a long time. She has cast the establishment pols in both parties in sharp relief, and we need a lot more like her of all persuasions in our politics.

      4. I emphatically agree. She’s refreshingly direct, succinct, and unafraid to skewer anyone from either party. I admire her intelligence and spunk. She doesn’t back down from attacks by heavyweights or pols. The other thing I like about her is her ability to present her positions with such clarity and organization. This woman doesn’t waste her time or others. She gets straight to the point. AOC sets a higher bar for Democrats for sure.

  11. We must thank God for small favors, one of which is that Trump doesn’t read. If he ever read and internalized this Chris Ladd post, he’d have himself a field day of crazy new ideas. He already sees himself as a modern version of Hitler, I’m sure, There would be some variations on the theme, of course, like it won’t be the Jews suffering persecution (that would hit too close to home, plus he has this brand new Potemkim city in Israel with his own name, right?). No, it will be Muslims, Hispanics, blacks, and other undesirables! And his alliance is not with Catholics (he has no use for them after an apparently unpleasant meeting with the Pope), but rather with Evangelicals (let’s hear it for Jerry Falwell, Jr!) Yes, our Stable Genius “leader” is absolutely on the march to a Hitlerian grip on government, so it seems to me that AOC is not wrong to talk about concentration camps. And such is certainly no greater expansion of the facts than what Trump does!

    Maybe this deviates from the subject a bit, and I have no dog in the Democratic hunt. I do think, though, that the hunt is way too large and some of the hunters are about to kill their fellows. It worries me that so many are after Biden, although he sure does open the door for them. But I believe in the old adage, to get along, you gotta go along. Especially when you are a freshman senator. I remember back around 1964 (before some of you were even born, I guess), I was just a funcionado at the RNC. We had just nominated Barry Goldwater, not my personal first choice, but I was a team player (and wanted to keep my job)! I was a young bachelor and stopped into the old Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in the Watergate Hotel in DC to have dinner at the counter. Place was almost empty, but sitting down near the end I spotted the Democratic Chairman of Armed Services, Senator Richard Russell (Georgia). Obviously a leading segregationist, arch-conservative. Being a brash young ‘un, I decided to amble down that way and introduce myself. He was most courtly when I suggested that “we’d love to have you switch over to the Republican Party, Mr. Chairman.” His answer: “Y’all keep on nominatin’ men like Barry and some day I just might do exactly that, son.” Well, I think that’s what Joe Biden was doing back in those times — working the system with men like Eastland. No harm, no foul. His fellow candidates should get off his back, but he really should be more careful. I just want to see a nominee sufficiently unscathed to defeat this modern day Hitler. End of rant.

    1. I also see a lot of potential Dem bloodletting/ purity testing/ warming up for purging over the 1990s crime bill. This needs to be nipped in the bud. Does this mean I think the Bill was a success, or that the bad fallout ought to get swept under the rug? No. I see it as something that had broad, bipartisan support at the time (even the Congressional Black Caucus was on board), was a response to a real problem, but it was a failed response, and we need a new approach. That’s the message candidates in Biden’s shoes ought to be sending.

      The message for the people who wish to rebuke Trump has to be vote for your favorite in the primary, but get behind the winner for the general election. I haven’t picked my favorite yet, but as a scientist, I love, love, love that Warren is putting up lots of ideas and she’s put her finger on some serious problems (income inequality is a destroyer of societies).

      One last observation- I have a WaPo subscription, and the headline for the latest column by Marc Theissen caught my eye: “Biden is a walking, talking gaffe machine.” This from one of the most servile Trump suckups in print. It’s amazing to me how hypocritical the GOP has become. I didn’t read it. I’ve stopped clicking on any links to Trump apologist fan fiction. I’ve already sampled it, and there’s nothing new to learn.

      1. Yes! to Flypusher’s points (especially those about getting behind the eventual Democratic nominee, whoever it turns out to be.) And I don’t read the slime peddled by Trump apologists, either. If it is anti-a specific D candidate, I figure that is the strongest opponent of the moment, and therefore someone we should look at seriously!!!!

        Everyone should re-read Chris’ paragraph 8, and substitute the name Trump for Hitler. You’ll come up with gems like: Conservatives consider Trump and his allies to be UNCOUTH RABBLE….” Ah, such a great description! I love that one — uncouth rabble, indeed. Fits Bonespurs to a T!!!!!!!

  12. I knew a lot of this. But learn some new facts. Never the conformist I stick out with much of my social circle. Like Winston Churchill I keep warning to stopped ears. Until those people personally get hurt and are in serious danger most are not going to change their minds. This blog attracts high intelligent people. But their always has been a anti-intellectual trend in our country. One of my favorite childhood authors was ISAAC ASIMOV. This is one of his quotes.

    “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

      1. EJ

        Nazis are terrible people, and so is anyone who cooperates with them. One of the scariest things is realising just how large that latter group was, and may well again be today. It’s just easier to go along with the misdeeds of the authorities tuan it is to oppose them.

        The quintessential modern German experience consists of lying awake at night, wondering what one would have done in the 1930s, and realising that one may well have just acquiesced and gone along with it. (It is my opinion that as a left-wing intellectual, I would probably have gone into exile, but that may be flattering myself.)

      2. Many Germans (and as many Jews as could) did exactly that, EJ. I don’t judge the German people who stayed but the horrible things neighbor did to neighbor and ignored as they were happening, is harder to ignore. We all like to think we would speak out, help, and yet, the feeling of impotence is right before us with the detention of women and children in camps that are squalid, and inhumane. What should we do about this? Waiting for the 2020 election is not helping those who are suffering right now. It’s a very dark time.

        On another site, a former attorney asked these questions which I hope he follows up by contacting the ACLU or Raices. Lawyers here please weigh in.

        Have the US and cooperating states waived sovereign immunity from suit for a civil suit against ICE, its affiliates, and cooperating states for child trafficking and neglect of immigrant children? Would only parents of the kids have standing to sue? Are any such suits in progress? Does the Missouri case of an immigrant family’s child being handed to a US couple for adoption and a Missouri judge affirming that placement challengable on these or other grounds?

      3. NIMBY? Think it can’t happen?

        There is a push by the TX Republican Party to expand Hispanic voter numbers. There was a huge brouhaha in the Woodlands this weekend when it was learned that the local township president contracted with professional political organizers from Pasadena, CA, to host a workshop at his place of business for training and recruitment of area Hispanics called “Latinos for Trump”. Three groups with purported ties to white supremacists reported on their FB pages that they would attend this event. (Texans Against Communism, Texas Patriot Network and Texans United For America, along with guest speaker Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand author and political activist opposing communism and radical left activities among his other pursuits, and the radical group “Proud Boys”.) Local elected Republicans were invited to speak but to my knowledge did not attend. Word got out of the coming event via a small news organization, the Houston Press, and community reaction forced the meeting from the original private business location (which is attached to the large, well attend mall) to another community site (the Hyatt). The Township President whose business site was under contract to domicile the event (gratis), disavows knowledge that these militant groups were invited to the workshop, but the taped interview by the Houston Press reporter, Jef Rouner, with the CA organizer confirms that these groups were extended an invitation. The event organizers denied press credentials to the Houston Chronicle for the two-day event, but shared video taken of the sessions with media, which will form the basis for a new article to be published by Rouner of the Houston Press. (Rouner did not attend due to death threats.) One of the groups who did attend and are recorded on video were the “Proud Boys” ( – some seriously bad people.

        It takes an incredible amount of energy to fight things like this “if you even know they are happening – but thankfully, enough people did and were able to force a change of location and block the three groups with white supremacist ties from mixing even casually with the youth of the community, but the Proud Boys were in attendance.

        This is the tip of the iceberg in actions being fomented by Republicans in Texas – mostly those who are in the far right wing. As Chris has told us time and again, Republicans play hard ball and these days, they play dirty too. Something new is being reported in TX. There is a push at the county level to replace existing board members of public libraries with political appointees. This effort just recently was tried in Hood County, TX. Every year, in Montgomery County, in which the Woodlands is located, the local tea party has submitted its own budget for county operations that strips funding for county public libraries. Thus far, libraries have always been funded, but as the conservative majority shifts on county councils, how might our public libraries be affected?

        It has noted that early efforts of the Nazi Party in Germany began quietly at the grassroots level, by getting their candidates elected in smaller communities to town councils, appointed to positions in police departments, local boards and other local agencies. These more radical conservative groups are the new “thought police” who aim to purge libraries in a major step at mind control.

      4. Clarification: The Township President states unequivocably that he did not know these militant groups were invited and has deniability. The Proud Boys did have a speaker present and these three other groups were selling tickets to the original event on their FB sites but it is not known if any of them attended the event in its new location. I hope to be able to link the next article about this for greater clarity as soon as it is available.

      5. I promised to link the follow up story on the Woodlands meeting under the mantra, “Latinos for Trump “, by Houston Freedom Press reporter Jef Rouner. He is an excellent writer and developed this article from actual video from the event in addition to personal interviews. For those who want to view what these people are really like, a link to the video is included.

        Here. The Woodlands, Tx. A small bedroom community to Houston, TX. A place of mostly white, upper middle class families. These groups have an agenda and a plan to infiltrate areas that have been off limits in the past. No more.

  13. EJ

    My memory of reading about it as a child is that after the end of the Spanish Civil War, most of the Spanish remained in exile in France or elsewhere in Europe. A number of them ended up as the hard core of Free French or Résistance military units. Some went to Mexico or America. Some, especially communists, made it even further afield. There were Spanish communists fighting for Stalin and Mao during the early 1940s.

    The exception was for members of ethnic groups that the French public discriminated against: in particular North Africans, Romani, and Jewish people. What happened to them was probably less pleasant.

  14. Boston Globe just reported trump will “delay” the immigration arrests for two weeks, “at the request of Democrats”. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in China …. Far more likely, his people told him they couldn’t accommodate one.more.person. Or, maybe someone told him 151 people might die if they put more people in the concentration/er, detention center holding pens. We know trump is sensitive to the possibility of people being killed under his orders….he’d rather starve them to death slowly or let them die of sepsis or other communicable diseases…to absolve himself of any taint of responsibility…Oh, and in two weeks, trump will be at the G-20 summit so out of the country when the “new arrest sweep” will go down….He’s not one to get his hands dirty, after all.

  15. Thank you for the history lesson. We must never forget what happened to know what is possible.

    A major difference between the time of Hitler’s concentration camps and todays is media is far more diverse. Thus the actions of ICE as an extension of the trump immigration policies are not as easily contained – at least those they “want” to contain. The value of our independent judiciary, for as long as it lasts, has been a pivotal force in checking what they can of practices and treatment of detainees. What we “know” is bad enough; what we don’t know, what happened illegally (separation of families) and tactics that violate the Flores ruling regarding humane treatment, is another thing.

    Detainees are being moved around. Those who are being placed on military bases void the ability of reporters and human rights inspectors to gain access to these facilities. Those facilities which have been inspected report: 24/7 lights that never go off; freezing temperatures or excessive heat; no beds – sleep is on floor under a mylar sheet; no soap, toothpaste, infrequent if at all showers and access to latrines. Children defecate in clothes; children and parents are still being separated. In violation of our constitution, those seeking asylum are denied entry and kept in Mexico. All immigrants are not South American. Many Asian and other nationalities are being affected as well. The number of immigrants seeking entry to the US via the border is declining over prior months but overcrowding is severe. Yet, potus has announced a nation-wide immigration arrest push beginning tomorrow that could add literally tens of thousands more immigrants to facilities that are dirty, excessively crowded, and badly understaffed.

    Here are three current articles on this topic:

  16. The old and busted argument of “Hitler was a leftist, because it was called the National SOCIALIST Party”, spammed all over the www by bots, trolls, and the ignorant, will probably never die, because not enough people will read your fine essay. I knew the basic story, but learned a few more details that revealed parallels new to me. They make we more worried, but thank you for the education.

    I’ve been in the online scrum on this topic. A common defense (made with extreme indignation) is “HOW DARE YOU SAY CONCENTRATION CAMP??????? NOBODY IS BEING KILLED OR FORCED TO WORK!!!!!” The ignorant fools don’t know this history, refuse to realize that forced labor camps or extermination camps are what concentration camps can mutate and metastasize into (cancer terminology very deliberate). I’m glad to see people like George Takei, many Holocaust survivors, and many historians are calling an ugly, evil spade an ugly, evil spade. And Godspeed, Rep AOC. You are saying what must be said, and you are not backing down. Megan McCain is a total disgrace here.

    1. Before researching this post, I’d never heard about the concentration camps set up along the French border with Spain to contain all those scary Socialists fleeing the Spanish Civil War. That was a jaw-dropper for me. Having already been set up and established, the became the natural first place for Nazis to deport their own German Jews.

      I can’t find any references on what happened to the Republican Spaniards who’d been interned there. If they were sent back to Franco’s Spain, well…

      1. Koctya to the rescue! If you’re able to visit Houston, the newly enlarged Houston Holocaust Museum is a must. Here’s the current special exhibit, which is appropriate to include with this post.

        Here’s a link to the museum’s site.

        While they were closed during this major addition, the HMH shared their trained staff with area community colleges. I was very fortunate to hear two outstanding presentations by a member of their staff. The oral histories, slides, and discussion were unforgettable. Having this experience makes what’s happening at America’s southern border even more difficult to bear. “Never Again” are not just words; they are the embodiment of personal commitment of humanity to never allow such horror to repeat. I want every republican member of Congress and all persons who condone what is happening to people seeking asylum in our country to walk through this museum right now and face the reality of their complicity in the trump immigration fiasco.

      2. The museum in DC is amazing, I’ve been twice but the real treasure is their searchable databases free to the public. There are even on site researchers who help you find documentation on almost any event. I confess I never made it all the way through the tour either time…became sick to my stomach going through the Kinderlager section of the museum. They have a system of spotters that get you outside fast if you start to lose it. I was grateful to be pulled outside both times. It is an emotionally exhausting experience seeing what we are capable of doing to each other.

        Mary, I had no idea there was a Holocaust Museum in Houston…will have to check it out next time I go to Texas. Thank you for the heads up.

      3. Women were placed in very difficult situations. Occupation of cities involved conscription of housing for officers and other personal favors. Many of these women were living without their husbands who were in the army. To protect themselves and their children, many Had to make hard choices. There are many books about these women who literally had to prostitute themselves. The horrors of Natzi Germany was shared by more than the Jews, homosexuals and gypsies although they suffered most.

      4. Sadly, the Holocaust Museum in DC decided to weigh in on the wrong side of this argument.

        In a press release posted to its website on Monday, the museum wrote that it “unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,” and directed readers to a six-month-old essay that cautions against “careless Holocaust analogies [which] may demonize, demean, and intimidate their targets” and “distract from the real issues challenging our society, because they shut down productive, thoughtful discourse.”

        So, evidently, “Never Forget”, really means, “Never forget that the Holocaust is only relevant to Jews and Nazis and no comparisons to contemporary events are appropriate, thus we cannot dare learn anything from the past”.

        This is some seriously screwed up stuff. The whole point of Never Forget was to be watchful of the preceding events that lead up to things like the Holocaust.

        However, I’m sure that the US Holocaust Museum sent out similar cease and desist missives for the two billion “abortion is like the Holocaust” analogies from right-wing nutjobs.

        AOC was right about the concentration camps, and she certainly seems to be right about the outsized influence of the Israel lobby efforts.

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