I’ve been interested in WWII history for a long time now. I’ve read a lot about the time leading up to the beginning of Germany’s deportation policy and what followed thereafter. So it was extremely disturbing to read a piece from The Washington Post just now about one of the families whose lives were totally disrupted by the ICE raid at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Norwalk, Ohio where the workers were lured into the break room with the offer of free donuts. This is NOT an “Op Ed” which may or may not be true. (Too many people believe everything those damn pieces on the news feeds say.) This is what journalism is. And anyone who thought this immigration crisis was just a “border” issue needs to read this article.
“Even as President Trump and his administration promise to reunite families separated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the U.S. border, a similar crisis continues unabated within the country’s interior, where children are separated from their undocumented parents with little scrutiny and increasing frequency.” (The Washington Post, Story by Eli Saslow, Photos by Michael Robinson Chavez, June 30, 2018: “Are you alone now?”
This story in itself is bad enough, but his nibs and I had an experience Saturday that unnerved us a little bit. Knock at the door… A college student from Latvia was here in Utah for four weeks trying to sell books to earn money for school. She was, she said, supposed to sign up 30 families a day.
What weirded us out was the conversation that led up to the sales pitch. She began making some leading comments and asking some very particular questions. You have a lovely home, she said. It’s so clean. How do you keep it up by yourself? (I had mentioned during the conversation that I had an autoimmune thingy.) Not knowing where she was going, of course, I told her I had help come in once a month and they had just been here on Friday. The next thing we knew she was asking if either of the workers were Mexican… It felt very much like she was trying to “gather information.”
We put a stop to the conversation and quickly told her we weren’t interested in buying any books. She was polite. Asked if she could use the bathroom. Then she left. But she hadn’t pulled the door closed and I could see her standing outside on the porch listening. Apparently we didn’t say anything she was interested in because she stepped back inside and said she forgot to shut the door.
I don’t know WHAT that was about, but the hair was standing up on the back of my neck as Arn and I discussed it after she left. Maybe I’ve just been catching up on too may episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, but it felt way off to me.
There is a picture at the top of the article in the MSN news feed. In it a protester is holding up a sign with Anne Frank’s picture and the words: “Then they came for the children…” It took the wind out of my sails. It’s an addendum to a quote of Martin Niemoller, a German anti-Nazi
theologian and Lutheran pastor, a
national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, who became one of the founders of the Confessing Church in Germany, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution.
His quote is engraved on the wall in the final room in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. where people can light candles for victims of the Holocaust. I’ve been there twice and found it quite moving. It says:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Are we taking things one step further in this country now? Reflected in Niemoller’s quote is the beginning of the Holocaust…
There is also a slide show that accompanies the MSN story. In it there’s a picture of protesters in Newark, New Jersey carrying signs and BEING SPRAYED BY FIRETRUCKS. There is no out-of-control crowd, it’s just the fire department being plain-ass mean. I can’t help but wonder who told them to do that…
At any rate, I encourage everyone to read the piece from The Washington Post. We need to be aware of what’s happening in our country’s interior as well as at its borders. And I can tell you, if you substitute the word Jew for immigrant (or immigration) in this story it could have come right out of a history book — if we had been told the truth to begin with — about then and now.
This picture was taken in the same room in the Museum…
Bonhoeffer was not lucky enough to escape execution. He was killed just hours before the camp where he was held was liberated…