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What we must remember from history

July 31, 2019
I did not live through the Holocaust. But I did spend numerous hours at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. One of the most disturbing memories was seeing a large room of used shoes of all different sizes. Each pair belonged to a human being: male, female, young, old, middle-aged, ages across the spectrum. They belonged to people who were murdered simply because of their religion.

I have studied the Holocaust. I have seen video footage of people who looked like robots saluting with vehemence to a person who was responsible for killing six million Jews through gassing or through the torture of concentration camps.

What I have always been intrigued with is understanding how so many "normal," educated, professional people would so willingly participate in the actual torture and murder of people. They were not coerced. They were not inherently psychopaths. They had the ability to show empathy. But when it came to Jews, all those attributes simply disappeared. Medical doctors didn't succumb to moral disgust after deliberately inflicting mustard gas burns, cutting prisoners' legs and dousing the wounds with bacteria, dirt, glass and splinters to cause infection, or sterilizing them by exposing them to radiation and then cutting them open to inspect the effectiveness of the procedure. Recruits enjoyed inflicting such horrors, and when they were given the opportunity to leave, they signed up again!

Two primary reasons became evident in attempting to understand how a human being could be lowered to such a level of hatred that they could no longer see a Jew as a person. They were brainwashed over time to see Jews as an enemy that had to be stricken down because (they believed) they were a consummate threat. How did they come to believe this?

First, Germany had been told it was winning the war. Well, they didn't. As a result, the economy was in shambles. Second, Germans believed the Jews had a role in the loss. It stoked a latent anti-Semitic feeling that dated from the early 19th century where they believed Jews were malevolent and too powerful.

In 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire, which Hitler used as a pretext to seize emergency powers and detain his political enemies. With communists and other leftists under arrest, he was able to push a law called the Enabling Act through parliament. The Enabling Act allowed Hitler's cabinet to institute legislation without parliamentary consent. He essentially held all the power and he could now unleash, without any shackles, his venomous hate against the Jews and have the German people buy into the rhetoric.

Adding to his power was his innate ability to tap into the raw emotions of the nation. Non-stop repetition of lies laced with a minute amount of truth fed the beast of fearmongering to the point where normally sensible people were mesmerized. They were now true believers. Just like the Wizard of Oz. The fear of the "powerful and almighty Wizard of Oz" was enough to make people shake in their boots and do whatever he told them to do.

Only after the war did people begin to come out of their delusion. Over the years, people have said, "We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust."

I am afraid we have forgotten. Only in addition to the Jews, it's now blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, Chinese and, really, any group that is not a WASP (white Anglo-Saxon, Protestant). We're now bashing anyone and everyone who looks different than us because we now believe the people "hate America." We lock people in cages (our contemporary concentration camps); we separate children from their parents; we force them to live in filth and to drink from toilets. And what do we say? "They deserve it! They shouldn't have tried coming here in the first place!" Well, for all you white folks out there, if it wasn't people fleeing the Potato Famine in Ireland, those who were leaving Britain and other parts of Europe because they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs, YOU WOULDN'T EVEN BE AN AMERICAN! So, explain to me how you can sit in judgment of others who have come and contributed mightily to this country and how those who want to create a better life for their family should be so brutally treated.

We can have humane immigration reform. We can say "no" to people coming into our country with compassionate but firm laws. But to tell female Congresswomen to "go back to where you came from" when they were born right here in the United States of America tells me many have lost their minds, their souls, their hearts. And then they want to bash the messenger without taking a moment to reflect. Why? Because being right and being in power is all people want. Never apologize, never compromise, never be wrong, and, last but not least, never take responsibility. This is the propaganda about 40 percent of Americans have bought into for the past four years of a campaign and presidency.

There will come a day of reckoning when, at some point, each and every one of those who wish to attack me and what I have just said will come to stark awareness of the truth. And you will be ashamed that you have contributed to the hatred and the division that has engulfed our country. I hope you find your heart again. I hope you realize before you pass on that God could never sanction this kind of behavior as He is the epitome of LOVE. A good economy or a Supreme Court justice or a fear of socialism (which can never happen if you spent a moment to study it) can never be justification for the hatred that has gripped so many.

When all is said and done, when you skin every person on the planet, the only color you will see is red, the life blood in us all.

Dr. Ashira Young is a licensed social worker and practitioner of energy psychology. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in integrative medicine from the University of Natural Medicine. The author of two books, she lives near Milltown with her husband, former State Sen. Richard Young.

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