Letter to the Editor: The Ken Burns documentary shows that ugly history is repeating itself

Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman

While watching the Ken Burn’s documentary, which could be just as easily titled “The Holocaust through American Eyes,” I was repeatedly struck by how history is repeating itself.

So many of the ploys that Donald Trump and Co. used and continue to use on Americans were drawn from how the National Socialists played out their power games and their constriction of the rights of Jews. Castigation of immigrants, use of the language of division and hatred, sending dog whistles to those who would commit violence against our constituted government, and — most egregious of all — the denial and twisting of truth all were/are part of the Trump regime, both while in office and now out.

For those of my generation of Baby Boomers who grew up in a close proximity to the Holocaust and believed that such a thing could never happen in America, events like those in Charlottesville and Portland, Indianapolis and outside Tampa — where Neo-Nazis marched, and trends in violence against American Jews and Jewish institutions have been increasing — our antennae have been set to quivering.

I am not sanguine about another Trump run for the presidency. At the moment, I am mildly worried. I do not believe that Ken Burns set out to throw flares derived from the rise and rein of Adolf Hitler’s time to ours, but the facts are what they are, and it would be foolish to ignore the implications of what he is showing America.

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