Politicians open old wounds with Nazi rhetoric

From left: Mike Garcia, Lauren Boubert, Robert Kennedy Jr.

Congressmen Mike Garcia and Lauren Boebert, and anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have tarnished the memory of the Holocaust by making cheap political references to Nazism. (related press)

Esther Finder has seen the worst of humanity. Her parents bled as her children watched. Children killed in front of their parents.

The tales of brutality and depravity, bravery and ingenuity she hears stir the imagination. During her teenage years, Finder’s father survived 12 Nazi concentration camps, posing as a doctor, electrician, and furrier. One time he hid inside a human-sized cauldron.

Finder, a retired psychology professor, recorded the testimony of about 250 Holocaust survivors.

“I can’t stand in the shoes of the survivors, but I can stand close enough to understand what they went through,” Finder said in a recent Zoom conversation from her home outside Las Vegas. “I have a lot of pain.”

But certain kinds of careless politicians and sensationalist activists have defended ex-President Trump’s diversion of highly classified documents, or defamed public health workers trying to stem a raging pandemic. He hasn’t stopped throwing out Nazi tropes and terms like brown shirts lightly in order to do so. It killed over 6 million people.

Suggested by anti-Vaxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Anne Frank enjoyed more freedom More than an American facing pandemic restrictions, hiding from the Nazis who ultimately killed Frank, her mother and sister.

Florida Senator Rick Scott and Colorado Representative Lauren Boubert likened the FBI to Adolf Hitler’s secret police, the Gestapo. Arizona State Senator Paul Gossard It’s called Agent Brownshirt, and it’s a reference to a Nazi stormtrooper.

(The court-approved investigation was the result of months of fruitless negotiations between the former president’s government officials and lawyers who treated state secrets like his personal trinkets.)

The latest example of such callous, numb Last week, Trumpy Southern California Republican Rep. Mike Garcia likened the Biden administration to the Third Reich in an interview on a right-wing podcast.

“The FBI is not the Gestapo,” said Finder, with a cold, dry laugh as the desert that surrounded her. “The Gestapo would have come in and shot everyone. Who are you kidding?”

Finders, 69, lost both grandparents in the Holocaust. Her mother survived Auschwitz, as did her father. She spent her days with a dent in one of her arms from being injured in a bullock cart used by the Nazis to transport Jews to concentration camps.

Finder’s family history and background in psychology made her a natural choice, if anything like that, for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and USC Shore Foundationthe latter was founded by filmmaker Steven Spielberg to document the stories of witnesses and survivors.

Finders said the film is her attempt to “humanize numbers and statistics” that can never fully convey the horrors of the Holocaust. Taking testimony is also an “incredibly fulfilling” experience, she said.

“Survivor stories are powerful,” said Finders. Her level tone and her demeanor suggested that she was back in front of the classroom again: “They demonstrate the resilience and will to live of the human spirit.”

On one level, Finder said, she understands why attention seekers cite Hitler and the Holocaust.

“They do it for shock value,” she said. It doesn’t get any worse, so if you really want to insult someone, call them… Nazis.”

However, to refer to them lightly belittles the experiences of those who survived, tarnishes their honor, and tramples on the memory of their descendants left behind.

“That’s an insult,” said Finders. “That’s despicable. You’re stepping on my grandparents’ graves.”

The morning sun was slanting through the blinds of her home office as the outside temperature climbed to 101 degrees. The look on the viewfinder’s face was grim.

She has no illusions that trespassing will end. Too many people don’t realize or care about the hurt they cause. Too many people enjoy the attention they get by doing or saying things that surprise or provoke.

Finder hopes that Holocaust corrupters like Garcia, Boebert and others have witnessed some of the anguish she has absorbed over the last few decades. Unfortunately she said:

However, it is difficult to shame people who act shamelessly.

This story originally appeared los angeles times.