In the hours after the decision of the Trump administration to let DACA be decided in Congress, the Nazi comparisons are flying fast and furious on social media. And I’m sick of it.
What happened to the Jews during the Holocaust is a unique event in world history. There had never been anything like it before, and nothing like it since. The systematic barbarity and inhumanity of that event cannot be accurately described in any polite discussion forum. For those of us who were born after the event, it is our duty as human beings to immerse ourselves at some point in our lives in the story. To see pictures that will keep us up at night. To read descriptions of depravity that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. All for one goal: To remember.
Many years ago I studied that event, and try as I might I could not place enough distance between myself and the Evil that arose in Germany, flared brilliantly then collapsed in a mountain of ashes. I learned things that I thought impossible, things that convinced me that G-d couldn’t exist. The Holocaust had burned the moral framework supporting a Divinity, consuming him in the fires of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and a thousand other killing sites in Europe. Even though it was a continent and decades away, the very knowledge of the Holocaust branded my soul. It changed me as it should have done.
Today, 72 years away from that horror, people throw around words like “Nazi”, “Hitler” and “Holocaust,” and doing so they trivialize the real, unspeakable suffering experienced by millions, and do their memory a grave injustice. Yes there is injustice in the world, and unfortunately there are unspeakable horrors and even Evil. And we should fight it and speak out against it but do so on its own terms, and not rely upon the Holocaust for moral support.
Their memory deserves not to be sullied by our rhetorical failures.