Letter to the editor: Is Summit County a champion for human rights? | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Is Summit County a champion for human rights?

Rachel Steinmetz

As a Jew, I’ve studied the Holocaust with a desire to understand how such hate could grip of an entire nation. I learned just how easy the process of dehumanizing others can be.

Germany was in economic despair when Hitler restored the German people’s independence and created prosperity. He was admired, but his leadership emboldened antisemitism. He took over all the newspapers and radio stations, and fired any journalists who didn’t report what he wanted. He recruited Germany’s top scientists and doctors to spread the idea that the Jews were unclean. They blamed Jews for outbreaks of typhus and labeled them spreaders of disease. The prejudice against the Jews soon led to banning them from schools, businesses, stores and establishments. This propaganda was so effective it created a fear of the Jews spreading infectious diseases. The Jews were stripped of their humanity and reduced to walking vectors of disease. Hitler used public health orders to remove them from society into quarantine camps. The Jews were experimented on by doctors for “the advancement of medical technology.”

The end of this travesty produced the universal adoption of the Nuremberg code and the standard of informed consent. This sets the precedent that no one can be coerced or forced to receive medical procedures they do not want.

I must ask, is there any good reason to dehumanize and segregate any group of people in our society?

There are valid health and scientific concerns on both sides of today’s conflict. But only one side is being ostracized, shamed, banned and punished for their convictions.

In the current climate of division and polarization, we must ask ourselves if we truly want to continue to champion human rights for all despite our differences or let the not-so-distant-past repeat itself in our county and in our world.

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